You might remember reading about coffee and its pros and cons last year here at dLook, and since that time we’ve begun to wonder about the pros and cons of chocolate too.
You also might have read that famous dLook article on the history of chocolate, one of the most read articles on our site. But after finding out about all the history, ask yourself, how much do you really know about the health effects of eating chocolate? Take a look at these popular myths…
It Gives You Acne
This is a popular myth about chocolate. Rest assured, there is no scientific basis for it. In fact, a study carried out in Germany found that the nutrients in cocoa powder actually boost your skin’s health by increasing it’s resistance to sunburn, and increasing circulation to the skin tissue.
All that extra blood flow means thicker, more hydrated skin. Better circulation has great benefits for any part of the body, helping clear out the waste in that area and bringing fresh nutrients – the kind of benefits that could actually combat acne and other skin irritations.
It Makes You Fat
A small study at the University of California seemed to indicate that regular chocolate consumers actually tended to be leaner than those who avoid it. In fact, the findings seemed to point to the frequency as a major factor, as people who ate no chocolate all week then had a binge were less lean than the frequent chocolate consumers under observation.
This could be because chocolate increases your metabolism, and so spurs on your body to process food more rapidly: a raised metabolism is associated with slimness.
It Gives You Heart Disease
This one has been resoundingly refuted, with evidence stacking up against the popular myth.
Researchers from all over the world have found that cocoa increases cardiovascular health by decreasing risk of stroke, the hardening of the arteries, and prevents white blood cells sticking to the artery walls.
It Makes You Depressed
Contrary to popular belief, chocolate has the power to improve your mood. By stimulating your brain to release endorphins, it works in the same was as exercise does to give you a high. But unlike going for a workout, eating chocolate is seen as an unhealthy, even morally wrong activity.
Beating yourself up for doing the ‘wrong’ thing is a pretty good way to ruin your endorphin high, and at the same time create the illusion that it’s the chocolate itself that’s bringing you down.
So don’t let guilt wreck this delicious and nutritious delight one moment longer! Grab yourself a nice piece of chocolate and relax in the knowledge that you really are doing yourself a favour.
One more benefit…
But wait, there’s more! Not only does cocoa make your skin awesome, keeps you metabolising quickly, and lowers your risk of heart disease, it can also help elderly patients with memory loss.
By increasing blood flow to the brain, cocoa ensures the passages in the brain are up and running properly.
Why are there so many misleading myths then?!
The existence of the myths listed so far could be explained by the fact that cocoa is usually accompanied with a huge serving of fat and sugar in chocolate bars. Fat and sugar are the main culprits in causing cardiovascular diseases, obesity and weight gain, and even acne. All of this contributes to poor health.
So to reap the benefits of cocoa without copping the fat and sugar hit: opt for very dark chocolate, or make yourself a hot chocolate using skim milk and as little sugar as you can manage. You’ll get used to the stronger taste, get all the health benefits, and soon find your chocolate cravings are satisfied with just a few mouthfuls of high cocoa content chocolate. What more could you want?