NOW! JAKARTA | The Sweet Truth About Chocolate

The Sweet Truth About Chocolate

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It is guaranteed that every grown up will rediscover their inner child when faced with the sweet indulgence known as chocolate. Be it spread on your warm toast, mixed with your milk and coffee, transformed into a refreshing scoop of ice cream, or simply eaten in morsels, chocolate always finds a way to brighten up our day. For all the happiness chocolate brings to mankind, we really have to thank the ancient Mesoamerican tribes for introducing Theobroma cacao into our lives.

According to www.naturalsociety.com, dark chocolate is the best kind of chocolate there is, as it is blessed with vitamins, minerals and other nutritional contents including manganese, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin K, total omega-6 fatty acids, total omega-3 fatty acids, theobromine and, as stimulant, caffeine. It is also rich in compounds such as flavanols, flavonoids, resveratrol, serotonin, cannabinoids, anansamide and tryptophan.

Put together, all those elements bring a host of health benefits to regular chocolate eaters. What are you waiting for? Finish that chocolate bar in your mouth and hurry to grab another one!

Lowering cholesterol level. Based on a study published by The Journal of Nutrition, routine consumption of chocolate helps decrease the Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) level that is highly associated with bad cholesterol. Studies indicate that the Plant Sterols and Cocoa Flavanols in dark chocolate, as part of a low-fat diet, may support cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol and improving blood pressure.

Preventing heart disease risk by one third. A research published in The BMJ, a reputable online platform for medical publications and journals, says that chocolate consumption is related to a substantial reduction in the risk of cardiometabolic disorders.

Minimizing your chance of having stroke. A group of Canadian scientists conducting a research on 44,489 people discovered that stroke-free participants who loved consuming chocolate were 22 percent less likely to suffer from a stroke in the future. Meanwhile, those who had already suffered from a stroke but regularly consume chocolate were 46 percent less likely to die from this medical condition.

Keeping cancer at bay. Chocolate has a compound called pentameric procyanidin that can stop new tumor cells from growing. It also has proanthocyanidin that can decrease the level of proteins in breast cancer cells, preventing it from spreading further.

Taming down blood pressure. Studies have found that a small-to-average intake of dark chocolate is adequate to reduce blood pressure, thanks to its high content of polyphenol.

Recommended for expectant mothers. Pregnant women are prone to preeclampsia, a complication during pregnancy that causes the blood pressure to rise. Dark chocolate contains high amount of theobromine that can stimulate the heart and arteries to dilate. The more chocolate consumed by expectant mothers, the less likely they are to develop this condition. A study conducted by Finnish scientists also found that babies born from chocolate-eating mothers tend to smile more compared to those who don’t eat chocolate during pregnancy.

Good for your eyesight. A study in England discovered that fans of dark chocolate have better vision than those with a penchant for white chocolate.

Improving your memory. Based on a research conducted by Harvard Medical School, two cups of hot chocolate a day keep the brain healthy and reduce memory loss, especially in the elderly people, thanks to its role in improving blood flow to the brain. In addition, another study published in 2014 found that cocoa extract called lavado could reduce or prevent damages to nerve pathways in Alzheimer patients, suggesting that their cognitive decline could be slowed down.

Now that you know what chocolate can do to your body, why not apply it to your skin? To begin with, the flavanols in dark chocolate can protect your skin from sun damage. The good news doesn’t stop here. According to a 2006 research published in The Journal of Nutrition, dark chocolate could increase blood flow to the cutaneous and subcutaneous tissues of the skin, in addition to improving skin density and reducing hydration. Try these wonderful make-at-home chocolate facial mask recipes for maximum results!

Chocolate facial mask to rejuvenate, hydrate and soothe skin
Ingredients:
 One tablespoon of chocolate (with 70 to 90 percent content of cocoa), one tablespoon of thick cream (no add-ons such as sugar), one tablespoon of honey.

How: Melt the chocolate on a warm water bath. Avoid direct contact with fire as it can spoil the chocolate. Once it is melted, mix it with the cream and honey. Apply on your face and neck and leave it for 15 minutes. Rinse your face with warm water.

Chocolate facial mask to regenerate skin
Ingredients:
 One tablespoon of chocolate (with 70 to 90 percent content of cocoa), one teaspoon of almond oil, one teaspoon of rose hip oil.

How: Melt the chocolate as instructed previously and mix it with the almond oil and rose hip oil. While it is still comfortably warm, apply it on your face and wait for 20 minutes. Rinse your face with warm water.

Chocolate facial mask to revive dry, rough and dull skin
Ingredients:
 Two tablespoons of chocolate powder (with 70 to 90 percent content of cocoa), one tablespoon of honey, four tablespoons of milk.

How: Mix them all together in a bowl until the concoction reaches a smooth paste-like texture. Steam your face to open up the pores. Apply the mask afterwards on your face and neck and leave it to dry for 30 minutes. Rinse your face with cold water.


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