If you plan on diving into a pile of leftover Valentine's Day chocolate this weekend . . . or eating your feelings because you're tired of being single . . . here are five GOOD effects chocolate can have on the body.
1. It has some nutrition. A high quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content can actually be pretty nutritious, with fiber and minerals like iron, magnesium, and potassium. Unfortunately most of the crap you buy at the grocery store doesn't count.
2. It's got antioxidants. Raw, unprocessed cocoa beans are among the best foods when it comes to antioxidants. And dark chocolate may even have more antioxidants than blueberries and acai berries. (It's pronounced ah-sah-EE.)
3. It can make you feel better. Chocolate increases the production of endorphins and serotonin, which can decrease pain and lift your mood. And it also boosts the release of phenylethylamine in the body, which increases energy.
4. It's good for your heart. Eating chocolate has been shown to reduce levels of "bad" cholesterol and raise levels of "good" cholesterol. And daily chocolate consumption has been linked to a lower risk of stroke.
5. Your brain also benefits. A study at Harvard Medical School found that two cups of hot chocolate a day helped improve blood flow to certain parts of the brain. And the researchers think chocolate could help in fighting some diseases, like Alzheimer's.
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