It's not uncommon to see a smile on the face of someone who has just been indulging in chocolate truffles. After all, this delectable sweet can provide an instant sense of gratification, and medical researchers are continuing to uncover how the food affects the body.
Whether you love bon-bons or simply can't get enough of brownies, chocolate might be benefiting your body in ways that you could've never imagined. From your heart to your brain, this sweet food can do an abundance of good in your body when eaten in moderation.
Chocolate and Your Heart
For years, researchers have been looking into whether or not there is any truth behind the assumption that chocolate can be beneficial to the heart - one of the hardest working organs in the body. The results of a study published in early 2012 revealed that there may be more to eating hand dipped strawberries and chocolate bars than previously thought - researchers from the Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute discovered that dark chocolate can lower blood pressure, sugar levels and improve cardiovascular health.
Just remember, chocolate contains calories which can quickly add up if you aren't careful. As with other foods, it's important to be mindful of your portions when eating this sweet treat.
Chocolate and Your Mood
EverydayHealth.com reports that dark chocolate can encourage the brain to increase serotonin production, which is responsible for the "good mood" feelings we experience. It can also relax the blood vessels, making it perfect for those who are looking to de-stress and unwind. Next time you're feeling the blues, grab a piece of chocolate and see if your mood improves.
Chocolate and Energy Levels
If you're fairly reliant on coffee to get through the day, you might want to opt for a healthier alternative to give you the energy you're looking for - chocolate. Within the body, chocolate acts similar to coffee by giving it a jolt and improving the ability to concentrate, MSNBC reports. Researchers believe that it can increase blood flow to the brain and provide individuals with more energy.
And if you're still looking to get a caffeine fix, don't worry - dark chocolate contains a bit of caffeine that can help you fulfill that craving. Best of all, it pairs wonderfully with a variety of different foods. Try chocolate with wine or cheese to add a bit of flair to your next meal.