Do you know anyone who instantly becomes miserable whenever they get sick? It could be the flu, a bad fever or a sore throat, but there’s no way you can convince this person that the world will be a bright place again after a few days’ rest.
Well it’s not their fault for feeling so under the weather; it happens to the best of us. But there is a way you could lift those clouds of depression and bring a smile back to their face. In the wise words of Charles M. Schulz, creator of America’s beloved comicstrip characters Snoopy and Charlie Brown:“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt…”That’s right—chocolate! It’s common knowledge that when anything in life brings you down, a bite of some sweet delicious chocolate could turn your day around.
That’s because chocolate contains tryptophan, a chemical which helps stimulate the production of opioid and release endorphins—in short, chocolate makes us happy.But for those of you worried that chocolate isn’t a healthy gift for your sick friend, you’re in for a surprise. While your concern does you credit, chocolate may be perfectly healthy if eaten in moderation and okay-ed by the doctor. Still skeptical? Then maybe the following little-known health benefits of chocolate will show you the light:
- Fights Free Radicals: No, this doesn’t mean that chocolate can beat up those hippies protesting in the town square. “Free radicals” refer to those chemicals in the body that make you age faster and weaken certain body functions, like your eyesight. But chocolate with high cacao content are rich in flavonoids (powerful antioxidants) that help not only counter the production of free radicals, but also improve your cardiovascular and immune system.
- Lowers Cholesterol: Contrary to popular belief, the only cholesterol you may get in chocolate is one that comes from milk. Otherwise, the cocoa butter in chocolate has been proven to have no effect on the production of bad cholesterol and might actually help create good cholesterol instead.
- Good for Digestion:You can’t blame an upset tummy on that chocolate bar you ate! Cocoa mass in chocolate has around 15% non-soluble and soluble dietary fiber, which helps strengthen your intestines by keeping your stomach walls clean. So anytime you’re feeling queasy, it’s best to munch on some good old chocolate instead.
- Low Glycemic Index: While chocolate may contain sugar, it is made in such a way that the sugar is consumed very slowly by your digestive system. It doesn’t cause your blood sugar to shoot up or cause cavities in your teeth. In fact, if you eat sensibly then your body’s Glycemic Index could remain low.
- Energy Booster: Those “happy” chemicals released in your body by a bite of chocolate aren’t the only reason you’re able to concentrate better. Chocolate contains a small amount of caffeine and theobromine, both substances stimulate the respiratory system, the nervous system and your heartbeat!
If you’re looking for an even healthier combination, fruits and nuts with chocolate are a great source of vitamins and minerals. But when in doubt, it’s always best to go for dark chocolate as it is the most nutritious out of all varieties. It has the highest flavonoids content, contains no cholesterol,and is chock-full of minerals—iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, protein, calcium, to name a few!—leading to a healthy pair of lungs and heart.So next time you have a friend whose feeling low, consider getting them some chocolates. A timeless symbol of love and affection,a sweet gesture that may instantly banish doom-and-gloom, and a treat that’s as healthy as it is tasty, chocolate wins in all categories.