As a child, my mother always said that too much chocolate would raise the “heatiness” in the body, resulting in frequent sore throats and coughs. Chinese medicine and all that jazz. As a teenager, chocolate did much more. If I overindulged on one too many bars of Cadbury, the evidence of my crime would be all over my T-zone for all to see. Curse you, puberty!
In the recent years, however, chocolate’s been gaining quite a good rep. Who’da thunk? It’s a well-known fact that chocolate helps with the release of endorphins, but the good stuff doesn’t end there. Of course, we’re talking more about the dark chocolate variety and cocoa specifically, not so much its more sugary counterparts. (I’m so sorry to inform you that milk and white chocolate still kinda suck in the health department.) To celebrate World Chocolate Day, we’ve rounded up five surprising benefits of eating chocolate and/or slathering it all over your skin.
1. Chocolate contains caffeine, which helps stimulate blood circulation and, in turn, bring healing to your skin. According to Livestrong, cocoa and dark chocolate also contain antioxidants that help in collagen-building and fighting free-radical damage.
2. There’s a reason why cocoa butter’s so popular, and it’s not just because it smells so heavenly. Made with extracts from cocoa beans, cocoa butter is ridiculously moisturising. Also, because it’s edible, it means you can use it as a lip balm too, The Huffington Post reports.
3. The antioxidants from cocoa aren’t just good for your skin – they’re great for the heart. Livestrong reports that cocoa contains more antioxidants per gram compared to tea or red wine. Do note to buy raw cocoa powder though as many commercially available cocoa powders have had their antioxidants removed due to the bitter taste it gives.
4. Dark chocolate is rich in fibre, keeping you feeling full longer and better than less healthy snacks. That, in turn, saves you some calories. The Huffington Post even reports that dark chocolate may actually help in fighting those pesky sugar cravings. That’s it – I’m making the switch. Milk chocolate, you are friend to me no more.
5. Dark chocolate actually helps to get rid of coughs that just won’t go away. Take that, mother! Chocolate contains a little chemical called theobromine, which may help to suppress the vagus nerve that’s responsible for the coughs. According to Women’s Health, it may even help with the runs, too.