Tuesday, December 2, 2008

~10 ReaSoNz 2 EaT ChOcOz...YuMmY YuM!!

The 10 Reasons:

1. Chocolate Makes You Live Longer
Researchers at Harvard University in the U.S. studied 8,000 men for 65 years and found that those who ate modest amounts of chocolate up to three times a month lived almost a year longer than those who didn't eat any. They concluded that this was likely to be due to the fact that cocoa contains anti-oxidants called polyphenols, also found in red wine, which prevent the oxidation of harmful cholesterol. Anti-oxidants are also known to protect against cancer!

2. Chocolate Is Good For Stress
This is thought to be so because chocolate contains valeric acid, which is a relaxant and tranquilliser. Also, the sugar in chocolate may reduce stress - sugar has been shown to have a calming and pain-relieving effect on babies and animals because sweet tastes activate the opiate-like substances in our brain.

3. We All Know Chocolate Makes Us Feel Better
There are a number of scientific reasons for this. The smell of chocolate has been found to slow down brain waves, making us feel calm. Most of the time our brains are dominated by beta waves - normal waking frequency. When our brain activity slows to alpha waves, we experience a pleasant feeling of calm but alert relaxation. Also, because most of us find eating chocolate so pleasurable, we release endorphins (also released during sex… hmmm) in the brain. These have similar pharmacological actions as morphine, acting as pain-relievers and giving us a sense of well-being.

4. Chocolate Does Not Give You Spots
Although many teenagers blame chocolate for their acne, there's no scientific data to confirm this link. Scientists at Missouri University even gave spot-prone subjects chocolate to eat and observed their skin for the next week - with no effect.

5. Nutritionists Say That Chocolate Does Not Make You Put On Weight
You can't blame any single food for weight gain. So long as you don't eat more calories than you burn off, you won't get fat!

6. Chocolate Could Boost Concentration
This can occur, for example, if you eat it mid-afternoon, when blood sugar levels get a bit low. Chocolate has a reasonably low glycaemic index (GI), which means it gives long-lasting energy because it doesn't raise blood sugar levels too quickly. For example, a typical bar of chocolate has a GI of 70 compared with 73 for a bowl of cornflakes. This means a chocolate bar will keep you going for longer. Also, chocolate is a good source of chromium, which helps control blood sugar because it is involved in making glucose available in the body.

7. Chocolate Helps Us Digest Milk
This means it is good for those who are lactose-intolerant. Researchers at Rhode Island University have shown that cocoa stimulates activity of the enzyme lactase in the intestine. We need this to digest lactose, the sugar found in milk. Lactose-intolerant patients showed a reduction in bloating, cramping and diarrhoea when one-and-a-half teaspoons of cocoa were added to a cup of milk.

8. Chocolate Boosts The Appetite
This could be because it contains cannabinoid-like substances that are known to affect the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that controls hunger. This isn't ideal if you're on a diet but for those who need to put on weight or who are convalescing, chocolate could be just what you need to help get your appetite back!

9. Chocolate Can Make You More Alert
Cholocate contains a stimulant called theobromine, a caffeine-like substance that is thought to make us more alert. But theobromine doesn't have the side-effect of giving us the jitters, like caffeine, and chocolate contains only minute amounts of caffeine - a mug of coffee has about 85mg compared with just 1mg in three squares of chocolate.

10. Chocolate Is Nutritious
A 50g bar of plain chocolate contains 1.2mg of iron and 45mg of magnesium. Moreover, milk chocolate is a reasonable source of calcium - a 50g bar contains 110mg. However, we'd need to eat about seven bars to get the recommended daily allowances of these minerals.

So, there you are - ten good reasons to sink your teeth into a bar of delicious, mouth-watering, lip-smacking and *sinful* chocolate! Hey hey - who ever said that science was boring? See, it's given us a whole bunch of reasons to indulge and binge! Whoopee!