The Hidden Benefits of Chocolate: Delicious Superfood

The Hidden Benefits of Chocolate: Delicious Superfood

The Hidden Benefits of Chocolate: A Delicious Superfood

We all know and love chocolate, but did you know it goes beyond just being a tasty treat? Recent research suggests chocolate offers a surprising range of health benefits, positioning it as a superfood. The UK alone consumes a staggering 660,900 tons of chocolate a year, which translates to roughly 3 bars per person every week, that’s  11kg per year! So… whether you enjoy dark, milk, white, or any variety in between, chocolate offers more than just a satisfying indulgence.

Skin Benefits of Chocolate

Dark chocolate, in particular, is rich in powerful antioxidants like catechins, polyphenols, and flavanols. These antioxidants combat harmful free radicals in the body, promoting overall skin health according to Dr. Ross Perry, the medical director of Cosmedics skin clinics . Flavanols also offer some protection against UV rays, strengthening the skin's defence mechanisms.

If you want something more practical and incorporate chocolate into your skincare routine? Try this simple DIY face mask - Dr. Perry suggests a blend of unsweetened cocoa powder, cinnamon, and honey for oily or acne-prone skin. This mixture nourishes the skin while fighting acne-causing bacteria. For dry skin, create a hydrating mask by melting dark chocolate with a dash of milk, sea salt, and brown sugar. Apply for 15 minutes before rinsing to revitalise and moisturise.

Chocolate's Role in Hair Health

The benefits of chocolate extend to hair health as well. Nicole Petty, a hair expert at Milk + Blush, explains that cocoa powder is rich in essential nutrients like vitamin A, magnesium, iron, copper, and zinc. These nutrients are all crucial for promoting hair follicle development and a healthy immune system function. Vitamin A, in particular, aids in enhancing blood circulation to the scalp, facilitating oxygen supply to the hair roots and stimulating hair growth.

Zinc and iron deficiencies are known to contribute to hair loss, especially among women. By consuming chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% or higher, you can harness the antioxidants and nutrients necessary for maintaining healthy hair. These antioxidants play a vital role in nourishing the hair and supporting its overall strength and vitality.

Chocolate as a Post-Workout Snack

Believe it or not, dark chocolate can be a beneficial post-workout snack, as highlighted by David Wiener, a nutrition specialist at Freeletics, a fitness and lifestyle coaching app. The protein and carbohydrate content in dark chocolate can aid in muscle recovery following physical activity. Additionally, the antioxidants present help neutralise free radicals produced in the body during exercise, potentially reducing muscle damage post-workout.

Dark chocolate is also a natural source of magnesium, an essential mineral for muscle function and relaxation. Ensuring an adequate intake of magnesium can help prevent muscle cramps, making dark chocolate a valuable addition to a post-exercise snack . Opting for dark chocolate with a high cocoa content enhances the potential health benefits while minimising the intake of added sugars, thereby promoting overall well-being.

Chocolate's Impact on Mental Well-Being

Chocolate consumption has also been associated with positive effects on mental health. According to Navin Khosla, a pharmacist at Now Patient, the flavonoid content in chocolate can sharpen reaction time, improve memory, and boost concentration levels. These cognitive benefits are attributed to the enhancement of cerebral blood flow, facilitated by the rich flavonoids present in chocolate.

Furthermore, the mood-enhancing qualities of chocolate are linked to the stimulation of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, responsible for inducing positive emotions . By incorporating chocolate into one's diet, individuals may experience improved mood and cognitive function.

Chocolate’s Effects on Menopause

Women undergoing perimenopause and menopause stages may encounter increased inflammation due to declining oestrogen levels, which serves as an anti-inflammatory hormone. Edwina Jenner, a health coach and founder of The Menopause Reset, suggests that the flavonoids in dark chocolate could potentially aid in lowering blood pressure by enhancing blood flow and reducing inflammation in the body.

The consumption of dark chocolate, particularly chocolate with a high cocoa content, may offer relief from menopausal symptoms by supporting cardiovascular health and alleviating inflammation. By incorporating dark chocolate into their diet, women experiencing menopausal transitions may benefit from its anti-inflammatory properties and potential positive impact on blood pressure regulation.  This being said, research into chocolate’s effect on menopause is ongoing.

Explore the diverse and delightful world of chocolate here at Gnaw chocolate and discover the hidden treasures it holds beyond just your taste buds. Here’s our range of Dark chocolate, the Raspberry Crisp is especially good.
GNAW’s Dark Chocolate Range

We also have Dark Hot Chocolate if that’s your thing 🙂
GNAW Dark Hot Chocolate