To state the obvious, chocolate is awesome. You can eat it, drink it, even turn it into a flowing fountain of deliciousness. What’s even more awesome: In the right dose, it’s actually pretty good for you. Don’t believe us? Read on for five reasons the sweet treat is so healthy.
1) It’s good for your noggin.
A study published this week in the American Academy of Neurology found that drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day helps older folks keep their minds sharp. The cocoa helped increase blood flow to the brain by 8.3 percent, which in turn helped participants take memory tests quicker.
2) It’s heart-healthy.
Cocoa rich in the antioxidant flavanol can reduce major risk factors of heart and metabolic disease, according to a 2013 study published in the Molecular Nutrition & Food Research journal. The catch? You’d have to consume between 400 and 600 milligrams of cocoa—33 milk chocolates or 3 dark chocolate bars—to reduce high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and LDL cholesterol.
3) It helps us refuel.
Chocolate milk has long been touted as a great post-workout drink. In fact, research has shown it is more effective for recovery than a sports drink such as Gatorade. It has the perfect 4-to-1 ratio of carbs to protein.
4) It’s a stress reliever.
In small doses, dark chocolate can boost your mood in a big way. Research shows that eating an ounce and a half of dark chocolate a day reduced levels of stress hormones in adults. The small amount of caffeine doesn’t hurt, either.
5) It may lower risk of stroke in men.
A study published in Neurology in 2012 suggested that eating a moderate amount of chocolate each week is associated with reduced risk of stroke in men. Of the 37,103 men who took part in the study, those who ate about a third of a cup of chocolate chips had a lower risk of stroke compared with those who didn’t eat chocolate at all.