Chocolate is a universal feel-good food that can affect mood and provide emotional comfort. Chocolate also has several surprising health benefits that make it even more appealing. To gain the maximum benefits from chocolate, you should choose a dark variety with at least 70% cocoa solids. Here are 5 reasons to eat more chocolate.

Heart Protection

Chocolate contains powerful polyphenols and flavonoids that can help to protect your cardiovascular system and prevent heart disease. Flavonoids are antioxidants that can also be found in some fruits, red wine and green tea and olive oil. Chocolate is one of the richest sources of flavonoids, with higher levels than almost any other food. Some studies have shown that these flavonoids can also help to reduce blood pressure.

Stress Relief

Chocolate contains sedative properties that act as a tranquilizer, helping to reduce stress and anxiety levels. Eating chocolate can also cause the body to release endorphins, leading to an improved mood and an increased sense of well-being. In addition, some studies have shown that chocolate contains pain-relieving properties that help to reduce stress-related pain.

Improved Concentration

Chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine, which has a similar effect to caffeine. Theobromine can improve concentration and overall levels of alertness. Unlike caffeine, theobromine does not produce agitation and other negative side effects. Eating a little chocolate could temporarily boost your brain power and increase your ability to focus on complex tasks.

Cough Suppressant

The theobromine found in chocolate is thought to help suppress coughs. Some studies have found that chocolate acts in a similar way to codeine, which is often used as a key ingredient in cough medicines. Codeine can have negative side effects, such as drowsiness, which makes chocolate a much better alternative for cough suppression.

PMS Relief

PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) is a distressing problem that affects women all around the world. The symptoms of PMS vary from one woman to the next, but usually include mood swings, bloating and weight gain. Chocolate contains properties that can help to relieve the symptoms of PMS, particularly mood swings, anxiety and depression.

Chocolate is a delicious treat that comes with a range of health benefits. However, as with any high-fat food, eating too much chocolate can lead to weight gain, so it is important to be sensible in the amount of chocolate you eat. In addition, remember to choose dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids.

Readers might also keep in mind chocolate and extra virgin olive oil is a match made in heaven. Try a medium-fruity Picual like the NYIOOC Gold Award-winning Grumpy Goats Farm on chocolate ice cream, or use our food pairing app to find the best olive oil match for other chocolate desserts.

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