Everyone knows too much chocolate is bad for you, but not everyone knows that just a little bit of chocolate has good health benefits. However, not all chocolates are equal. Dark chocolate or cacao beans give the best health benefits where milk chocolate has less. Milk chocolate is chocolate combined with milk and sometimes things like sugar and vanilla to create a sweeter and creamier sort of taste. This makes it less pure than dark chocolate and also fattier thus worse for you.


Eat Chocolate for a Better Metabolism

Shocked that chocolate can help improve metabolism? A 2009 study published in the Journal of Proteome Research showed a comparison of the metabolism of people who ate 40 grams of dark chocolate over two weeks compared to those that did not. They found that there was a considerable metabolism increase in those that ate this tasty dessert treat. They believe that chocolate helps drop the levels of stress-related hormones that slow the metabolism and decrease fat burning.

Related to this, it is found to help people feel fuller. This is why many campers and hikers carry a bar of chocolate. It is good to give you a fast energy boost, but if you should happen to become lost, it will help stave off hunger pangs. This is because dark chocolate is actually rich in fiber which helps fill the stomach. When dieting, try taking a bite of dark chocolate next time before over snacking.

Chocolate is Good for Your Skin

Anyone that has ever had an acne problem know that chocolate is responsible for breakouts. This may be true for milk chocolate, but the dark variety is actually good for your skin. Dark chocolate is rich in an antioxidant called flavanols. Flavanols help protect your skin from UV light damage. Thus helping prevent skin cancer. However, eating this sweet treat does not mean you can throw away your sunscreen.

healthy chocolate

Chocolate Can Help Coughs

Chocolate being used for coughs is kind of odd, however I know personally that it does work. This tasty treat contains an alkaloid called theobromine, which is a stimulant similar to caffeine. Theobromine is also what makes chocolate poisonous to dogs, but it metabolizes slowly in dogs, but humans have a very high tolerance for it.

This alkaloid helps the calm the vagus nerve in the brain which trigger coughing. Because of this, companies are investigating replacing codeine—which can have adverse side effects—with theobromine in cough syrups as a more natural remedy.

chocolate heart

Chocolate is Good for the Heart

Theobromine is not only good for coughs, but it is good for your heart in small doses. Like other stimulants, it increases heart rate, and widens blood vessels. Research also suggests that chocolate has chemical properties that inhibits platelet function in the blood making it a blood thinner. This would be dangerous in large doses, but unless you plan on eating a whole car made out of the stuff, it helps lower blood pressure and clotting. Because it acts as an anti-clotting blood thinner, it can help prevent strokes. A 2011 Swedish study found that those who ate around 40 grams of chocolate per week had their chances of a stroke lowered by at least 25%. It has also been noted that the flavanols in this sweet treat can help repair blood vessel damage caused by smoking. So after quiting, help your body repair itself with a little bit of sweetness.

Fight Depression with Chocolate

Why do people reach for chocolate after a break up or when they are sad? Because it helps. It really helps. It helps stimulate endorphin production which is what makes us feel good. I have heard that having a piece of chocolate melt in your mouth makes a person as happy as passionate kissing, though this is unconfirmed. However, there is no denying the feeling you get when eating chocolate. You have to be really determined to be depressed when eating chocolate to negate the effects. This is why people are skeptical of the fact that chocolate makes people happy chemically. when you really do not want something to work, it will not. Though consequently, when you want it to work, it probably will.

Health Disadvantages of Chocolate

You cannot mention the health benefits of chocolate without mention the disadvantages. If you only mention the good, people will indulge themselves more than they should.

While dark chocolate is the best kind to eat to get the health benefits, all chocolate—white, dark, milk, ect—has a fairly high fat content. 3 ounces of this stuff contains anywhere from 21 to 41 grams of fat in it and 300 to 450 calories. While you can eat an ounce of this stuff to get the health benefits and be alright with calories and fat content, people have a hard time containing themselves. This food has always been one of those food that people cannot help but overindulge themselves. This throws the health benefits out the window and leads to weight gain and all the negatives that come with that.

Like with fat content, chocolate also contains a high sugar content. Though dark chocolate has the lowest sugar content, eating 2 ounces of it will put you over the recommended sugar intake you should have daily. Like fat content, this can lead to weight gain, but also increases tooth decay. You know what they say, sugar rots your teeth. That old adage continues to be true. Though interestingly enough, theobromine is believed to help kill some bacteria in the mouth that causes tooth decay. Eating too many sweet treats cancels out the effect with sugar.

Chocolate naturally contains caffeine as well. A surprisingly large amount of natural caffeine is found in this sweet. Because the dark variety is the purest, it has the highest amount of caffeine with 30 mg per a 1.45 ounce serving. The recommended daily caffeine consumption is only 45 mgs so a 1.45 ounce of dark chocolate puts you really close to that limit. Exceeding this limit can lead to head aches, sleep problems, and anxiety. The caffeine content is not something people consider when eating this sweet treat but they should before they overindulge.

Those that are prone to migraines should just avoid all kinds of this sweet. It contains a phenolic compound called tyramine that is thought to trigger the onset of migraines.