February is the season of love.. We get it.
You’re seeing jewelry commercials every time you turn on the TV, the checkout line at the drugstore is chock full of oversized stuffed animals holding hearts, and you’re feeling the pressure to help your kids make the cutest valentines for their classmates.
The only thing more top of mind than red roses (because they’re everywhere, too) is chocolate.
If you have even the teeniest hint of a sweet tooth, we’re willing to bet that you’re craving some, because you can’t go anywhere this month without seeing it.
These top five health benefits of eating chocolate will have you craving it more than ever.
A mineral that, according to Medical News Today, promotes bone health, prevents diabetes, improves cardiovascular health, reduces migraines, and works to lessen the effects of anxiety.
Substances that prevent and slow damage to cells caused by free radicals, which may reduce your chance of disease.
A component of food that, per the Mayo Clinic, improves GI health, lowers cholesterol, controls blood sugar levels, and supports weight management.
4) Various Cardiovascular Benefits
Dark chocolate improves blood flow, lowers blood pressure, and reduces the risk of heart disease. Since it encourages more blood flow to your skin, it can also protect you from sunburn.
5) Improved Brain Function
Don’t just take our word for it. Take it from the health professionals.
Harvard Health notes that:
“Dark chocolate boosts short- and long-term memory and improves blood flow, oxygen levels, and nerve function in the brain.”
You heard right.. Indulging in some chocolatey goodness is not going to set you back health-wise or ruin all of the progress you’ve made on the New Year’s resolutions you set for 2020.
It can be good for you.
TLDR: Pick up some chocolate for your loved ones this Valentine’s Day. Put out some pretty obvious hints that you’d like some in return. And hey, since we should all be practicing some self-love this season, why not go ahead and buy some treats for yourself? After all, we’ve got proof that there are health benefits to eating chocolate.
Our in-house wellness guru Haley Halteman — she’s a class leader at our Boulder studio, as well as certified nutrition therapy practitioner — clued us into this very good news about chocolate.
Here’s Haley’s inside (chocolate) scoop:
“Dark chocolate — 70 percent and higher — does, in fact, have some incredible health benefits. It’s high in antioxidants and magnesium, both of which are crucial for health. Often, when we crave chocolate, it’s because we are actually magnesium-deficient and our body is looking to fulfill that need.”
Celebrate, bulldoggers, because those chocolate cravings you experience now and then may actually serve a legitimate purpose! Enjoy that little tidbit as a Valentine’s Day gift from us to you.
The magnesium you get from dark chocolate (and other sources, of course) is proven to reduce inflammation, as well as to promote heart, liver, and GI health.
And here’s another fun fact:
Resveratrol — a plant compound found in high-quality red wine — has similar benefits.
In other words, mixing a little red wine with dark chocolate treats this Valentine’s Day offers a nice cocktail of health advantages!
Chocolate is good for more than just magnesium, too.
According to Healthline, dark chocolate with a high cocoa content is also chock full of fiber and other minerals, as well as antioxidants. It has a higher antioxidant content than most other foods!
Here’s a refresher on what antioxidants do from Harvard Health:
“They fight something called free radicals in the body. Free radicals are chemicals that can damage cells and genetic materials.”
Basically, they’re bad news, so it’s pretty cool that dark chocolate and the antioxidants that come with it can help fight them off.
Healthline also notes that chocolate can improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease, protect your skin from sun damage, and improve brain function.
Obviously, this is all excellent news for chocolate lovers.
But let’s not get carried away.
As with most things, moderation is key — no matter how great the health benefits of chocolate are.
Haley tells us:
“Chocolate and wine as sources of magnesium and resveratrol need to be in moderation, because of the negative aspects they contain, but for Valentine’s Day, dark chocolate and red wine is the perfect combo to celebrate a holiday all about the heart. In moderation, they are good for the heart… both physically and emotionally.”
(See? Haley’s the coolest.)
There’s chocolate milk, too!
We have yet another piece of very cool chocolate-related news for you, too! Did you know that chocolate milk is a great post-workout drink?
According to University of Arkansas Medical Sciences, it is!
Recent studies demonstrate that chocolate milk’s protein content makes it an ideal beverage for after a sweat session. It contains twice the carb content as plain milk and other sports drinks, which your tired muscles need after tough exercise.
It also has a high water content to prevent dehydration and assists your body in replenishing calcium, vitamin D, sodium, and sugar – Yum!
Trying to eat healthy & stay fit?