With the Easter long weekend upon us, it’s time to indulge with our favourite chocolate eggs and bunnies
Instead of feeling guilty as you reach for that extra egg, chocolate lovers can rejoice, with news its concentration of antioxidants and phenols means chocolate can actually be beneficial to your health.
Here’s how to maximise the benefits from chocolate this Easter.
Choose your chocolate carefully
Home doctors say choosing dark chocolate over milk will provide you with a range of health benefits, but as with any product, it’s important to be careful when choosing what you buy.
The healthiest option is a dark chocolate with a cocoa bean or powder content of 70% or higher. Any less and there will be greater amounts of cocoa butter or sugar, or both. When looking for a dark chocolate, your best bet is to choose bunnies and eggs where either cocoa powder or cocoa beans are at the top of the ingredients list.
The benefits of dark chocolate
A recent American study outlined seven health benefits of dark chocolate and cocoa.
High nutritious value
Dark chocolate and cocoa are packed with fibres, healthy fats, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium. It also contains stimulants like caffeine and theobromine to help stimulate your brain, without keeping you up at night.
Packed full of antioxidants
The report found cocoa and dark chocolate have more antioxidant activity, phenols and flavanols than any other fruit tested, which included blueberries and acai berries. Home doctors say the antioxidants help to “disarm” radical bacteria in your body and in other foods, improving your digestive health and overall wellbeing.
May improve blood flow and relieve blood pressure
The bioactive compounds in cocoa and dark chocolate send a signal to arteries to relax, lowering the resistance of blood flow around the body. This results in a small but significant decrease in blood pressure.
Helps adjust cholesterol
Dark chocolate improves several risk factors for heart disease. One of the most important factors is cholesterol – dark chocolate and cocoa lower a person’s susceptibility to bad cholesterol by increasing arterial health and insulin sensitivity, helping to break down lipid fats.
May reduce risk of heart disease
Thanks to the lowered cholesterol, dark chocolate and cocoa reduce the risk of heart disease by improving arterial health around the body.
Helps protect your skin from the sun
Studies show cocoa and dark chocolate can help to increase blood flow to the skin and reduce the risk of sun damage.
Can help improve brain function
Cocoa and dark chocolate can help to boost your brain’s functionality due to its ability to improve blood flow around the body. It also contains stimulants like caffeine and theobromine to help you focus.
House Call Doctor sends a home doctor to you and your family when your regular GP is closed at night and on weekends and public holidays. To book a house call home doctor patients should call 13 55 66 or book online or via the House Call Doctor App.