IS CHOCOLATE REALLY GOOD FOR YOU? Yes, great news! For years we were told all the reasons to avoid chocolate... It’ll make you fat; it’ll make your face break out; it’ll lead to diabetes. Chocolate had a bad rap for many years.  We really dug in and learned there are several reasons to enjoy a bit of healthy chocolate. Dark chocolate benefits are particularly noteworthy. Much of this info was a total shock to me, as some of the chocolate benefits really impact and help avoid serious health issues. #thumbsup

We've done some investigative research on this most important topic - and come to find out - there are many reasons to eat a reasonable amount of chocolate! Reasonable is the key word. I’m not suggesting you order an 18 wheeler filled with your personal supply of chocolate, however, you should feel free to indulge in some good chocolate and treat yourself without feeling guilty.

To highlight some of the healthy chocolate benefits, we've uncovered 11 great reasons to eat more chocolate:

Hot Fudge Sundae1. Chocolate Decreases Risk of Stroke

A Swedish study found that by eating approximately 2 bars of chocolate a week decreased stroke risk by 20% in women. That's a pretty significant percentage. Works for me - I can eat 2 bars of chocolate for that reason alone. Dark chocolate in particular contains flavonoids, which has antioxidant properties to help prevent stroke, the author, Susanna Larrson explains to Health Day.

2. Chocolate Reduces the Likelihood of a Heart Attack

Other studies show that eating dark chocolate prevents blood clots, which in turn reduces the risk of heart attacks. Blood platelets clump together more slowly in chocolate eaters.  

3. Chocolate Protects Against Blood Inflammation

Eat one dark chocolate bar per week, and your risk of heart disease will decrease, a 2008 study found. About 6.7 grams of dark chocolate per day keeps the blood inflammation-inducing proteins away. As I keep saying - I'm in. I can do this. 

4. Chocolate Helps You Do Math

Sure wish I would have known this when I was in school.

British psychologists found that flavanols (a class of flavonoids, which are found in dark chocolate) helped people with their mental math. Study subjects had an easier time counting backwards from a randomly-generated number between 800-999 after drinking a cup of hot chocolate than they did without the cocoa.

“The findings suggest students who binge on chocolate when studying for exams may gain a real benefit from doing so”, the British Telegraph reported. 

5. Chocolate May Prevent Cancer

Cocoa contains a compound called pentameric procyanidin, or pentamer, which disrupts cancer cells’ ability to spread. When researchers from the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University treated cancer cells with pentamer back in 2005, the proteins necessary for cancer growth were suppressed and the cells stopped dividing.

I have known there were health benefits of dark chocolate for a while, but really had no idea the magnitude of the effects.

6. Chocolate Reduces the Risk of Diabetes

The Italians know a thing or two about good eating. A small study from the University of L'Aquila, in Italy, found that eating dark chocolate increases insulin sensitivity, which reduces the risk of diabetes.

7. Chocolate is Good for Your Skin

"Some people say that I eat too many chocolate bars …”  Remember that acne infomercial from the 90s? No? Well, it doesn’t matter. Not only does it not cause breakouts, it’s actually good for your skin! Well, dark chocolate at least. Flavonoids found in dark chocolate protect women’s skin from the sun’s UV rays, according to German scientists. But that doesn’t mean you can skip the sunscreen. If I only would have known this as a teenager. 

Healthy Hot Chocolate8. Chocolate Can Help Control Your Cough

The most delicious way to kick your cough, apparently, is chocolate. One of the sweet’s chemical components, theobromine, seems to reduce the activity of the vagus nerve, the part of the brain that triggers coughing fits. Scientists are even working on a cough-quelling drug that uses theobromine in place of codeine—a narcotic common in cough medicine. Oh my gosh - I have never been happier in my life. and luckily I have a cough I'm trying to get over! 

9. Chocolate Improves Blood Flow

Back in 2008 Harvard scientists forced test subjects to undergo “two weeks of enhanced chocolate intake.” A tough job but somebody had to do it. A fortnight of chocolate face-stuffing sped up blood flow through their subject’s middle cerebral arteries. In other words, more chocolate means more blood to your brain. 

10. Chocolate Strengthens Your Brain

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University found that dark chocolate shields cells in your brain, and accordingly protects it from damage caused by stroke. They found epicatechin, a compound found in chocolate, significantly reduced the brain damage in mice who suffered strokes. Scientists at California's Salk Institute also found that epicatechin improved mice’s memories.

11. Chocolate May Add a Few Years to Your Life

Jeanne Louise Calment lived to be 122 years old. She was the oldest living person known. She ate two and a half pounds of dark chocolate per week! Smart lady! Harvard researchers found that eating chocolate can add as much as two years to your life.

So, now you know the facts. They were gathered from an article written by Jake Heller. But frankly, I think they forgot the most important reason to eat chocolate. CHOCOLATE IS WONDERFUL. We love it and it’s delicious in any form. What’s your favorite way to indulge is this fun health food?

Of course, we love a good a chocolate fountain, flowing with healthy dark chocolate. However, the options are wide open. Our Sephra Dark Chocolate Chips (also the best fondue chocolate) - which I am going to start eating by the handul - are a delicious snack. I mix them with nuts. There’s always chocolate ice cream, chocolate cake, brownies, fudge or… how about a hot fudge sundae. Pick your favorite and dig in. Because, now you know the truth. CHOCOLATE IS ACTUALLY GOOD FOR YOU!!!