1. Chocolate is nature’s pain killer.
When we consume chocolate made with a significant amount of cocoa, it creates a happy little explosion in the brain. The delicious treat triggers the release of extra endorphins (natural opiates) and lights up the brain’s pleasure centers by increasing serotonin levels.
2. Allowing chocolate to melt in one’s mouth causes a more intense and longer-lasting pleasure than kissing.
In 2007, researchers at the University of Sussex monitored the heart rates and brain waves of 20-something couples while kissing, and then eating chocolate. In both cases, chocolate melting in the mouth triggered a more intense reaction!
3. It doesn’t make you break out.
In fact, German researchers suggest that the flavonoids in chocolate absorb UV light, which can actually help protect and increase blood flow to the skin, ultimately improving its appearance.
4. It’s a reliable energy booster.
Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, both of which will boost your energy levels. The darker the chocolate, the more energy you get. And unlike those sugary energy drinks, chocolate won’t lead to a crash a few hours later.
5. The Catholic Church once associated chocolate with heretical behavior, including blasphemy, extortion, witchcraft, and seduction.
Chocolate was so good it was bad, apparently.
6. It really can make you feel better.
The smell of chocolate increases theta brain waves, which induce relaxation. That serotonin boost mentioned earlier doesn’t hurt either. This is once reason people feel better about life after eating it.
7. It also makes you smarter.
A 2006 study found that 5 days of consuming high-flavanol cocoa improved blood flow to the brain, improving performance and alertness in the short term.
Research presented at a recent gathering of the British Psychological Society demonstrated that people who consumed large amounts of hot chocolate were better at mental arithmetic.
Another study examined chocolate’s long-term effects on the brain by studying the diets of more than 2,000 people over age 70. Those who consumed flavanol-rich chocolate, wine, or tea scored significantly higher on cognitive tests than those who didn’t.
8. Eating chocolate can help prevent tooth decay and works as an anti-bacterial agent.
In 2000, Japanese scientists found that chocolate is less detrimental to your dental health than many other sweet foods because the antibacterial agents in cocoa beans offset its high sugar levels.
9. It helps you recover after a hard workout.
In a small study at Indiana University, cyclists who drank chocolate milk after a workout had less fatigue and scored higher on endurance tests than those who had a sports drink.
10. In Mayan civilization, cacao beans were currency.
Goods were often priced in units of cacao: a slave cost 100 beans, the services of a prostitute cost 10 beans, and a turkey cost 20 beans. Because of their value, counterfeiting cacao beans out of painted clay became a thriving industry.
11. It supports a longer lifespan.
A study published by the British Medical Journal found that participants who ate candy one to three times a month had the lower mortality rates than those who didn’t, possibly because of the antioxidants in chocolate.
12. It lasts forever (in the right conditions).
A Hershey’s bar was dug up after 60 years from Admiral Richard Byrd’s cache at the South Pole. Having been frozen all those years, it was still edible.
13. It can give you superhero vision (kinda).
According to a study published in the journal Physiology & Behavior, eating a big chunk of dark chocolate can help us see better in low-contrast situations. Like seeing oncoming cars in bad weather, or picking out pedestrians wearing dark clothing at night.
14. It can help you avoid diabetes.
Flavonoids found in cocoa products have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-clotting effects that can reduce the risk of diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity.
15. It’s really good for your heart (and not just on Valentine’s Day)
Dark chocolate contains lots of antioxidants that help the cardiovascular system by reducing blood pressure. Eating dark chocolate widens arteries and promotes healthy blood flow that can prevent the buildup of plaque that can block arteries. Some say it can cut your risk of heart disease by 33%!
16. It can help you lose weight.
A study conducted at the University of Copenhagen found that eating dark chocolate fills us up and helps control our cravings for other sweet, salty, and fatty foods, thus protecting our healthy eating plans!
17. It makes you a better Mom.
Women who eat chocolate daily during their pregnancy typically report that they are better able to handle stress than mothers-to-be who didn’t indulge. A Finish study also found that the babies of chocolate-eating Moms were happier and smiled more.
18. It can calm your angry bowels.
In early 2014, revealed that, “unlike so-called ‘bad’ bacteria in the gut…that are associated with inflammation and can cause gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation, ‘good’ bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium and lactic acid bacteria, feed on dark chocolate to produce anti-inflammatory compounds.”
“When you ingest prebiotics, the beneficial gut microbial population increases and outcompetes any undesirable microbes in the gut, like those that cause stomach problems,” said John Finley, Ph.D., who led the world-first research into the effects of dark chocolate on the various types of bacteria in the stomach.
19. It can help protect you from sun damage.
20. It boosts your libido.
According to Italian researchers, women who eat chocolate regularly have a better sex life than those who do not. They also had higher levels of desire, arousal, and satisfaction from sex.
21. It’s nature’s cough syrup.
When you have a really bad cough, doctors often prescribe cough syrup with codeine. The downside is this powerful medicine makes most people sleepy and dull, and tastes like CRAP. Surprisingly, one study found that chocolate quieted coughs almost as well as codeine, probably due to the theobromine it contains.
22. It can keep you looking young.
Foods that are rich in naturally occurring chemicals, known as polyphenols, have been shown to help to slow down the aging process by helping to protect cells from the natural damage that occurs over time.