Has the Easter bunny been? As a bit of an Easter special, I thought that I’d do something a little different and write about the health benefits of chocolate. It’s basically international chocolate day today so feel it’s appropriate.
Chocolate dates all the way back to the time of the Mayans where they made cacao beans into a drink. This drink was held in such high esteem that it was commonly referred to as ‘the food of the goods’. They enjoyed this treat so much that they even drew pictures of it on the walls of their temples! Now their version of chocolate was pretty different to ours, it was a drink as the cacao beans were crushed and mixed with chilli and water – no sugar! However, they seemed to love it…and maybe they were on to a good thing.
Now what health benefits can I get from eating my Easter Eggs?
Well I’m not sure about what health benefits can be enjoyed from Easter eggs themselves as most of the research has been on dark chocolate, so let’s just pretend that the milk and added sugar don’t affect things:
- It’s a source of antioxidants (these protect against free radicals). Oxidative stress has been linked to diabetes, heart disease and even cancer;
- It may reduce the risk of heart disease;
- It contains certain compounds that lower your ‘bad’ cholesterol and increase your ‘good’ cholesterol;
- It contains anti-inflammatory properties;
- It may reduce insulin resistance;
- It may reduce your chances of getting neurological (brain) conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Now as I said, this research does only apply to good quality dark chocolate and the chances are that all the sugar and added ingredients to general chocolate counter act the benefits. However, it’s Easter. The chances are that you were given some chocolate so you go ahead and enjoy it – this day only comes around once a year.