What is better on a chilly day than hot chocolate to warm your insides? The truth is that not only does hot chocolate taste super good, but it also has an abundance of health benefits. So, stop feeling guilty about your guilty pleasure! Hot chocolate can be traced all the way back to Mesoamerica’s Olmec civilization. Around for centuries, chocolate is made from the Theobroma cacao tree seed and provides amazing health advantages.
Although chocolate might sometimes get a bad rap because of its high sugar content, mounting evidence has proven that it has a lot of nutrients that are healthy for you. Although a diet high in sugar and fat might not be the best and puts people at risk for things like diabetes, heart disease and acne, the advantages of eating and drinking hot cocoa might outweigh the pitfalls of the sugar and fat that it contains.
Keep reading for six reasons you might want to fix yourself a glass of hot chocolate.
- It reduces cholesterol levels
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition concluded that chocolate might help to lower LDL cholesterol, which is also referred to as the “bad cholesterol.” Researchers have also found that there might be a link between the consumption of chocolate and improvement and blood pressure health.
- It makes you smarter
Harvard Medical School evaluated the consumption of chocolate and found that older people who had two cups of hot chocolate per day showed reduced memory loss as well as an increase in brain health. Chocolate does this by increasing blood flow to the brain, which increases oxygen and helps to provide nutrients to the brain regions that need it most.
When tested, those who drank two cups of hot chocolate appeared to have a greater neurovascular coupling or better blood flow than those who did not. Poor neurovascular coupling is linked to Alzheimer’s disease. So, hot chocolate might actually lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Another study even suggests that eating chocolate once a week or more leads to better cognitive function.
- It reduces your risk of heart disease
Evidence suggests that eating chocolate frequently can help lower a person’s risk for heart disease by as much as one-third. It can also lower someone’s risk for other cardiometabolic disorders like developing diabetes.
- It reduces your risk of having a stroke
Canadian researchers evaluated over 44 thousand people and what they found was that those who consumed chocolate had a 22 percent decrease in risk of stroke than those who didn’t. Additionally, those who did have a stroke and ate chocolate on a regular basis, had a 46% less risk of dying from the stoke.
- It improves fetal development and growth
Pregnant women who consumed at least 30 grams of chocolate every day during their pregnancies showed an increase in both the development and the growth of their babies in the womb. Results from a study done in 2016 unveiled at the Pregnancy Meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, showed that consuming chocolate is a healthy way to improve your child’s fetal development and growth because it increases blood flow to the baby during pregnancy.
- It increases your athletic performance
According to a study released by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, dark chocolate helps boost oxygen levels when athletes are fitness training. Chocolate might even help to boost athletic performance because of the increase in oxygen levels.
With so many benefits to consuming chocolate, nibbling on a bite is a no-brainer. There aren’t many things that taste so good and have so many health advantages. So don’t feel bad about your guilty pleasure and enjoy that cup of hot chocolate. After all, it might help you maintain good body and brain health. It is best to try to shoot for dark chocolate hot chocolate so that you can truly reap all the benefits that chocolate provides.