Straight To The Shops: Chocolate Is Good For Your Health!
Chocoholics can be smug right about now -- it's almost medicine!
Just like you, we can't keep up with the flood of "wine is good for you", "you mustn't drink wine", "meat is bad" and "chocolate is poison" news we're always subjected to. But it turns out we don't have to, with news that far from being poison, chocolate is actually good for you, and in fact, in moderation, can even help you live longer.
Sign us up to that health plan, stat. Dosage levels: Take one bar of Cadbury Dairy Milk and call us in the morning.
Some research, published in the Journal of Internal Medicine (JIM), found that eating foods that are rich in anti-inflammatory properties slashes the risk of an early death by almost 20 per cent -- and the good news is that chocolate is one of these foods, on a list which also includes fruit and vegetables, tea, coffee, wholegrain bread, breakfast cereal, low-fat cheese, olive oil, canola oil and nuts.
Turns out Bachelor Richie was right to bathe in the stuff.
Except we can never un-see this.
The study analysed data taken from more than 68,000 men and women aged 45 to 83 years, who were followed for a total of 16 years.
The research found that participants who most closely followed an anti-inflammatory diet had an 18 percent lower risk of death overall, during the 16-year study.
Researchers at Harvard University in the U.S. also studied 8,000 men for a staggering 65 years and found that those who ate modest amounts of chocolate up to three times a month, lived almost a year longer than those who didn't eat any, thanks to antioxidents called polyphenols, which prevent the oxidation of harmful cholesterol.
OK so that's pretty good news, right? Well it gets better.
Chocolate is good for stress, too. And not just because you're eating it on the couch in front of the TV in your undies.
Or is that just us?
There are many reasons for the stress relief, actually. One is simply that we find eating chocolate pleasurable and that means our brains release endorphins when we do. As well, it contains valeric acid, which is a relaxant and tranquiliser.
And then there is the smell of chocolate. This has been found to slow down brain waves, making us feel calm.
And if you don't want to relax, you can still eat a Mars Bar. Because as part of its miraculous health properties (yes, we know we're overstating it) chocolate can also make you more alert. It contains a stimulant called theobromine, a caffeine-like substance that can pep you up without gibing your the jitters associated with a shot of coffee. Winning!
One more pretty decent reason to eat chocolate? It can boost your concentration. So come 3pm when you're reaching for that snack to keep you going, it turns out that chocolate isn't such a bad idea after all.
You see, chocolate has a reasonably low glycaemic index (GI), which means it doesn't boost your blood sugar levels too quickly, and will give you longer lasting energy, as well as a dose of chromium which helps control your blood sugar.
We could go on, but instead we're off to the supermarket to stock up on our favourite choccy goodies. Once the masses get a whiff of this, it could go prescription only...