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A Chocolate a day keeps the doctor away! Yes, you read it right. If you are a chocolate lover like me then you will at least read this line twice to believe your eyes. Contrary to the popular belief that chocolates are no good for us or it adds to empty calories, chocolates are small miracles of health but you must be aware of the do’s and don’ts.

It was long back in 2008 when I happen to stumble across a book with a title “A chocolate a day, keeps the doctor away” by John Ashton, Suzy Ashton. It was hard for me to believe the truth of the claim from just the title, therefore, I took the book and devoured it completely.

To my big surprise and relief, I learned that I need not be that guilty after consuming the chocolates.   It is absolutely fine to crave for it sometimes and consuming them do not means just empty calories. Icing on the cake was that chocolates can even be good for health.

Today, I will be sharing with you the benefits of having chocolates and am sure that it will bring a smile on the faces of chocolate lovers who love chocolates but dread to consume it for the fear of gaining weight.

The chocolate is made of cacao that is packed with healthy chemicals like Flavonoids and Theo-bromine, this little bean is a disease-killing bullet. But Cacao on its own is bitter, chalky, nasty stuff, therefore, milk, sugar, and butter is added to it. So, stick to chocolate with at least 70 percent cacao and limit yourself to 7 ounces, or about four dark chocolate bars, a week to reap health benefits like:

1) A HEALTHIER HEART

A nine-year long Swedish study of more than 31,000 women showed that those who ate one or two servings of dark chocolate each week cut their risk for heart failure by as much as a third. Another study in Germany found that about a square of dark chocolate a day lowered blood pressure and reduced risk of heart attack and stroke by 39 percent. It also raised the effects of exercise on overweight individuals. A chocolate bar even has five times the Flavonoids of an apple.

2) WEIGHT LOSS

University of Copenhagen researchers found that dark chocolate is far more filling and offers more of a feeling of satiety as well as lessens cravings for sweet, salty, and fatty foods.

3) HAPPIER KIDS

Women who ate small portions of chocolate daily during their pregnancy reported that they were better able to handle stress than mothers-to-be who abstained. Also, a study found their babies were happier and smiled more.

4) DIABETES PREVENTION

An Italian study projected that participants who ate a candy bar’s worth of dark chocolate once a day for 15 days saw that their potential for insulin resistance drop by nearly half. “Flavonoids increase nitric oxide production and that helps control insulin sensitivity,” says lead researcher Claudio Ferri a professor at the University of L’Aquila in Italy.

5) REDUCED STRESS

Swiss scientists found that when very anxious people ate an ounce and a half of dark chocolate every day for two weeks, their stress hormone levels were significantly reduced and the metabolic effects of stress were partially mitigated.

6) GOOD FOR SKIN AND SUN PROTECTION

London researchers proved that chocolate Flavonoids have sun-protecting prowess. After eating chocolate for 3 months with high levels of Flavonoids, the study subjects’ skin took twice as long to develop that reddening effect that indicates the beginning of sunburn.

7) HIGHER INTELLIGENCE AND STRENGTHENING OF BRAIN

University of Nottingham researchers found that drinking cocoa rich in Flavonoids boosts blood flow to key parts of the brain for 2 to 3 hours, which could improve performance and alertness in the short term. Researchers from Oxford University and Norway looked at chocolate’s long-term effects on the brain by studying the diets of more than 2,000 people over age 70. They found that those who consumed Flavonoids-rich chocolate, wine, or tea scored significantly higher on cognitive tests than those who didn’t.

8) COUGH RELIEF

One study found that chocolate quieted coughs almost as well as codeine, all because of the Theo-bromine it contains. This chemical, responsible for chocolate’s feel-good effect, may suppress activity in a part of the brain called the vagus nerve.

9) DIARRHOEA RELIEF

Both South American and European cultures have a history that dates back to the 16th century of treating diarrhea with cocoa and the logic behind it has been proved by Scientists at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute.

10) CHOCOLATE MAY PREVENT CANCER

Cocoa contains a compound called Pentameric Procyanidin, or Pentamer, which disrupts cancer cells’ ability to spread. When researchers from the Georgetown University treated cancer cells with Pentamer back in 2005, the proteins necessary for cancer growth were suppressed and the cells stopped dividing.

11) CHOCOLATE MAKES YOU LIVE LONGER

Jeanne Louise Calment lived to the age of 122—the oldest anyone has ever lived. She ate two and a half pounds of dark chocolate per week. Various researchers on the subject found that eating chocolate actually adds two years to your life expectancy.

So now you can enjoy the irresistible and blissful taste of bite-sized pieces of heaven and let it slowly melt in your mouth without guilt. But do remember that moderation is the key.

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