It’s not just the Easter bunny telling us to eat chocolate – Scientists are too.
When you think of the Easter bunny what image does your mind conjure up? Thanks to a large chocolate brand you may think of a white bunny riding through gardens on a bicycle delivering delicious chocolate wrapped in shiny paper.
And why is our fluffy hero so keen to hand over all the chocolate? Is he keeping all the good stuff for himself, you know all that green tucker that oozes vitamins – the food that we know to be good for us?
According to science the busy bunnies should be keeping some of the chocolate for themselves too.
Are You In A Good Mood?
If you’ve been eating chocolate, then you’re likely to answer ‘yes’. You’d be right too as chocolate is a joy stimulant. The Journal of Psychopharmacology revealed that someone who drinks a polyphenol-rich chocolate drink daily (this being the same as 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate) will feel relaxed and contented. More so than someone who hasn’t been offered a comforting mug of the chocolatey drink.
It is a known fact that antidepressant’s enhance serotonin or keep this compound in our brains. As cocoa boosts brain serotonin it’s no surprise that chocolate can lift our mood. So, here’s another question for you to ponder over – ‘do you crave something sweet or are you simply wanting something to lift your spirits?
So, we’ve been able to prove that chocolate can improve our mood, but what about our health?
We age as a result of our bodies losing their ability to renew and repair themselves. Chocolate has the unique super-power of activating stem cells allowing our cells to regenerate and heal.
A clinical study in California gave patients with known heart disease two daily 8oz cups of hot chocolate, made with 70 per cent dark chocolate, for 30 days. The number of stem cells in their blood was measured before and after the trial. It was found that consumption of the hot dark chocolate doubled the stem cells in their circulation. No known medicine has the same effect .
The secret to dark chocolate is that it contains high amounts of cocoa solid and less of the unhealthy ingredients present in other types of chocolate.
Let’s share the bunny’s diet
We have five health defence systems which help our bodies ward off illnesses. These are:
- Stems cells to repair and regenerate our organs
- Healthy gut bacteria for healthy digestion and weight regulation
- DNA which holds the blueprint of our development, growth, reproduction and function
- Defence against environmental toxins
- Immune system to fight disease and infection
Some foods benefit all five of these defence systems: blueberries, carrots, aubergines, coffee and dark chocolate. And the great news is, all of these foods are scrumptious.
Thinking of your future health
We’ve learnt that eating chocolate can reduce feelings of stress. When stress is present for a period of time it can actually speed up the ageing process in our bodies as it ages the cells that make up our immune system, decreasing their ability to divide or replenish. I don’t recommend that you solely rely on dark chocolate to reduce feelings of stress but a cup of hot dark chocolate every day will certainly pick you up. Having a positive attitude, socialising with others and plenty of outdoor exercise is the ultimate tonic.
We’ve also learnt that eating dark chocolate is extremely beneficial to our health and our ability to renew and repair. But, like everything in life, moderation is key and should be mixed with a balanced diet.
Source  The Times March 2019