Wanting  a reason to daily incorporate some chocolate into your life? Look no farther, because here are some great benefits AND fun facts to read about on chocolate!

I’m so excited because I am going to try something new on here this month of February!

I’ve decided to have one theme for the whole month, where I’ll include benefits of that food, fun facts, and lot’s a delicious recipe using it!

And what better food to start with than CHOCOLATE (especially because we all know what holiday in this month)

Yay for singles awareness day! I mean, Valentine’s Day!

Hey just because I’m single doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a day full of reasons to consume as much chocolate as you’d like.

But you don’t only need to not feel guilty about eating chocolate on Valentine’s Day, because there are so many benefits of chocolate to your health.

Yep, you’re reading this right. You should be eating chocolate.

Here’s why! (& as a grad student, you can trust these are from reliable sources backed up by research, not just the first webpage that comes up on google like most blog posts you’ll see out there!)

16 Benefits of Cocoa

  • Lower Cardiovascular Risk and Cholesterol
    • Studies have proven that chocolate containing plant sterols (PS) and cocoa flavanols (CF) have been shown to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) AND blood pressure!
  • Full of Antioxidants
    • Cocoa has large concentrations of flavonoids, epicatechin, catechin, and procyanidins
    • Cocoa has the maximum levels of flavonoids, greater than even tea and wine!
  • Full of Minerals
    • Potassium, Phosphorous, Copper, Iron, Zinc, and Magnesium
    • Also has Valeric Acid, which is known to reduce stress
  • Anti-Stress Effects
    • promotes serotonin production, which is a calming neurotransmitter
  • Anti-Obesity 
    • Believe it or not, when an identical high fat diet was given to rats with either including cocoa or not, the cocoa consuming rats lost more body weight and white adipose tissue (fat)!
  • Anti-Tumor
    • Even though the exact mechanism isn’t known, a few in vitro studies have shown cocoa prevent cancerous cell production
    • However I don’t want to leave this out that I found: some studies have also shown that EXCESS chocolate production have created an ideal environment for cancerous cells. This is most likely because sugar in general creates an ideal environment for cancer to grow. So as I say with all my food, enjoy in moderation!
  • Anti-Inflammatory
    • Cocoa inhibits something called lipoxygenase pathways, which promote inflammation
  • Aids in Exercise Recovery
  • Prevents Memory Decline
    • A study by Harvard showed that drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day prevented memory decline…hmm, maybe I should make a second cup!
    • In a future study, researchers found that a cocoa extract – called lavado – may reduce or block damage to nerve pathways that are found in alzheimer’s patients
  • Fills You Up
    • I didn’t even know this one, but dark chocolate is high in fiber! So eating it can actually be more satisfying than other sweets!
    • So instead of trying to feel satisfied by eating 100 other things first at night, just break off a square of that chocolate bar you have in your freezer (don’t tell me I’m the only one who like their chocolate in the freezer??)
  • Could Fight Diabetes
    • Studies are now coming out showing that it can help increase insulin sensitivity (& the cause of Type 2 Diabetes is insulin INsensitivity)
  • Good for your Skin
    • Despite people saying ” I can’t eat chocolate because it makes me breakout”, dark chocolate is filled with antioxidants called flavonoids that is GOOD for your skin and protects it from UV rays
  • Improves Blood Flow
    • It has anti-thrombotic and blood thinning effects that allow your body to increase blood flow…similar to aspirin’s effects!
  • Improves Vision
    • Because it increases blood flow, especially to the brain, it has been also thought to improve blood flow to your retinas…leading to better vision!
  • Brain Boosting
    • With improved blood flow to the brain, chocolate has been shown to make you more alert and feel more awake. Maybe next time you should make some of my homemade chocolate crunch bars before your exam!
  • Extra: It Boosts Your Mood!
    • No doubt that letting yourself indulge in your favorite foods gives you a little joy. So let yourself have some delicious dark chocolate in moderation!
  • Source1 Source2

20 Benefits of Chocolate (1)

20 Chocolate Fun Facts

  1. The average American consumes around 4.5 kg of chocolate each year.
  2. The darker the chocolate, the more flavanoids and flavanols it contains.
  3. There is a correlation between the amount of chocolate a country consumes on average and the number of Nobel Laureates that country has produced
  4. Chocolate has over 600 flavor compounds, while red wine has just 200
  5. Theobromine, the compound in chocolate that makes it poisonous to dogs, cankill a human as well. You’d have to be a real glutton to go out this way though, as an average 10-year-old child would have to eat 1,900 Hershey’s miniature milk chocolates to reach a fatal dose.
  6. Chocolate was consumed as a liquid, not a solid, for 90% of its history
  7. During the Revolutionary War, soldiers were sometimes paid in chocolate.
  8. Chocolate gives you a more intense mental high and gets your heart pounding more than kissing does.
  9. Hershey’s Kisses got their name from the kissing sound the machine that deposits the chocolate on the conveyor belt makes.
  10. The inventor of the chocolate chip cookie, Ruth Wakefield, sold her cookie recipe to Nestle in exchange for a lifetime supply of chocolate.
  11. There is a rare fourth kind of chocolate in addition to the classic milk, dark, and white varieties: blond chocolate.
  12. Three Musketeers bars were originally three pieces to a package, in chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry flavors. They switched to just the one chocolate bar after the price of strawberries increased.
  13. Andes Candies were originally called “Andy’s Candys,” after creator George Andrew Kanelos, but he changed the name after he realized men didn’t want to buy their wives or girlfriends chocolates with another man’s name on them.
  14. The largest chocolate bar ever weighed just over 12,770 pounds.
  15. Chocolate milk is an effective post-workout recovery drink.
  16. German chocolate cake has nothing to do with Germany. It’s named after its inventor, Sam German.
  17. A 2004 study in London found that 70% of people would reveal their passwords in exchange for a chocolate bar.
  18. Americans buy more than 58 million pounds of chocolate on Valentine’s Day every year, making up 5% of sales for the entire year.
  19. White chocolate technically isn’t chocolate, but you probably already knew that.

YOGA RETREAT

So what are you waiting for?! Let’s go eat some chocolate!

Stay tuned this month for lots of delicious chocolate recipes!! But until then, check out some of these old ones!

Questions for YOU

  • What was the most interesting fun fact on this list for you?!
  • What is your favorite chocolate recipe?
  • Are you a dark, milk, or white kinda person?? (or as we learned, BLOND?)
  • What is a chocolate recipe you are dying to see made healthy on here?!

Until next time,

xo Sarah Grace