For many years it was thought that eating chocolate was a harmful habit that does nothing for us except making us feel good while we get fat and die from diabetes. I
t turns out that we were all led astray for those many years. Recent science has come out and revealed that consuming chocolate, specifically chocolate that has high cocoa content can lead to a plethora of health benefits.
Some of those benefits include cancer-fighting capabilities, youthful skin, assisting with weight loss (believe it or not!), lowering your blood pressure, and various enhancements to the way your brain functions.
Many of these benefits can be attributed to cocoa’s rich concentration of a type of antioxidants called flavanols. Antioxidants, especially ones like flavanols, are well known for their brain-enhancing, skin-healing, and cancer-fighting properties.
In this article, I am going to focus on the brain enhancing properties associated with consuming chocolate.
And while some of those other benefits sound really good, there have been a million and a half articles written about them already. Few articles have delved into the details of how eating chocolate can improve the way your brain functions, so let’s dig in!
#1: Helps fight depression and reduce stress.
I previously stated that the only thing that people used to think chocolate was good for was making us feel good.
That is actually half-true, as chocolate has been shown to be effective in inducing a good feeling in those who consume it.
On top of that, the high magnesium content in cocoa halts the production and disbursement of a hormone known as cortisol which causes stress. This greatly assists in keeping people who consume it from getting stressed out.
#2: Enhances your memory and knowledge retention.
Remember the antioxidants known as flavanols I was talking about earlier? This benefit is almost solely due to these flavanols.
Basically, when you eat food rich in flavanols, such as cocoa-rich chocolates, the flavanols, or more specifically type of flavanols called flavonoids end up piling up in the part of your brain where memories are stored.
This area is also where knowledge retained. As I said, the flavonoids are almost solely responsible for these benefits; I say almost because the caffeine content in chocolate is another contributing factor.
Caffeine gives a kick start to your brain and enhances its ability to retain knowledge and keep you focused on the task at hand.
#3: Opens up blood vessels.
This is another benefit that can be attributed to the flavonoid content in cocoa. These antioxidants work to widen blood vessels which allows more blood to flow through.
This helps you in many ways. One such way is that it lowers your blood pressure. Another such way is that it increases blood flow to your brain, which greatly improves its ability to function.
It will make you more attentive and you will have an easier time finding solutions for problems that you encounter.
#4: Makes you feel good.
I touched on this a little bit in the fighting depression benefit, but eating chocolate really does make you feel good.
And it is not just because you love the taste of it. There is a scientific basis for why chocolate makes you feel good. And that basis are little-known chemicals known as endorphins.
In laymen’s circles these are referred to as the “feel good” chemicals, and for good reason. These chemicals get released in your brain and they do make you feel good and happy.
Also, consuming chocolates triggers the generation and release of a molecule known as anandamide.
This is another “feel good” molecule and contributes to your feelings of bliss after eating chocolate.
Why touch harmful drugs to feel good and relax when all you have to do is eat some chocolate?
#5: Keeps your cravings in check.
Sounds crazy, right? A food that is so addicting and that so many people crave is actually an effective cravings check? It sounds insane.
But it is true. The cocoa content in chocolate actually makes you crave less unhealthy foods and will cause you to consume less of these nasty junk foods.
There are various phytochemicals contained in chocolate and scientists have found a link between those and this benefit.
#6: Staves off debilitating brain illnesses.
The antioxidants in chocolate are responsible for staving off horrible brain problems such as dementia. On top of that, these antioxidants will decrease your chances of developing dementia and having a stroke.
I remember as a kid being told that eating chocolate can lead to all kind of nasty things, a heart attack and stroke being some of those things.
It is absolutely incredible that eating chocolate can make you less likely to have a stroke. In addition to that, the antioxidants will diminish your body’s resistance to insulin, which not only reduces your risk of developing diabetes, but also reduces your chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease when you get older. You should tell your parents and grandparents to eat more chocolate!
#7: Increases your intelligence.
Even if you consider yourself to be pretty smart, eating chocolate can make you even smarter.
How? It improves your brain’s ability to take in new information and comprehend it. And as I mentioned before, consuming chocolate makes your brain more able to retain that new information and you will end up being more intelligent than you were before you started eating chocolate.
#8: Keeps your brain cells healthy.
Consuming chocolate will help to protect your brain from damage due to free radicals in oxygen.
The damage from free radicals causes your brain cells to age faster than usual and deteriorate sooner. Chocolate mitigates this issue and keeps your brain cells healthy and functioning properly.
The Shocking Ways in Which Chocolate Can Benefit Your Brain Health Review Summary
As you can see, we have all been deceived for many years as it pertains to eating chocolate. It turns out that it isn’t the worst eating habit in the world and in fact, it is one of the most beneficial. While these benefits to the brain seem amazing, these are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to chocolate.
It provides many amazing benefits to the entire body. Now of course, this doesn’t mean you can just start scarfing down tons of chocolate a day.
Always consume in moderation, but don’t feel guilty for succumbing to your chocolate craving.
In fact, make room in your diet for a chocolate snack here and there. And make sure it is dark chocolate or any other chocolate that has a high concentration of cocoa.
No Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar. The only Hershey’s you should eat is their dark chocolate. Keep in mind that healthier chocolate with higher cocoa content will cost you more, but it is definitely worth it in the long run.