We usually consider chocolate as a treat (especially for a mid-afternoon pick-up) but that doesn't mean we can't claim a couple of health benefits associated with the snack.
It boosts good cholesterol
Because cocoa powder includes antioxidants known as polyphenols, consuming 75g of dark chocolate daily will raise your HDL cholesterol levels.
It makes you happier
This one is pretty obvious but the chemicals in chocolate, and especially dark chocolate, slow down the natural breakdown of anandamide (a neurotransmitter named from the Sanskrit word for "bliss") and extend its blissful effects.
It makes your gut happier too
There are a lot of little critters in your gut, some of them good, and some not so good.
According to the American Chemical Society, the good ones "feast" on dark chocolate and turn it into anti-inflammatory compounds.
It makes you smarter
A University of South Australia study indicated that people who ate chocolate more than once a week performed better on cognitive tasks.
This could be because cocoa contains flavanols (a type of polyphenol linked to improved cognitive function because they improve blood flow to the brain).
It makes you a better athlete
Cycling athletes' bodies use oxygen more effectively when they consume 40g of dark chocolate daily, according to study results from Kingston University in London.
The research hypothesised that dark chocolate may be to blame for raising nitric acid levels.
It helps you recover from a workout faster
According to multiple studies, the mix of carbohydrates, protein, and lipids in a carton of chocolate milk provides your body with all the nutrition it needs following a strenuous workout.
It's good for your heart
Dark chocolate can also increase insulin sensitivity, which benefits cardiovascular health. In addition, the treat also provides you with antioxidants that are healthy for the heart, liver and other organs.
A 2016 study discovered that these advantages come from consuming an amazing 100 grammes of dark chocolate per day.
It's a source of vitamins and minerals
I mean, it is true that there are better places to get your nutrients but chocolate also contains key vitamins and minerals.
Protein, vitamin E, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, copper, and zinc are all some of the nutrients found in chocolate.