Valentine’s Day Special: 5 reasons to stop feeling guilty about eating chocolate

Chocolates are a common gift on Valentine’s Day, and while the health-conscious may avoid them, they may not necessarily be sinful.

Milk or white chocolate may prove to be a sugary and less healthy treat, but those with a taste for bitter dark chocolate are in for some health benefits.

The following are some reasons to keep chocolates in your diet anyway:

Chocolate could protect against diabetes

Chocolate might be the last thing on health conscious people's minds, but research has found that dark chocolate reduces the risk of bodily changes that can cause type two diabetes.

This is because dark chocolate is higher in a compound called flavonoids. Snacking on dark chocolate protects against a condition called insulin resistance as well.

Chocolate is good for the heart

Studies show that consuming a bit of dark chocolate twice or thrice a week helps to lower blood pressure. The snack also helps with blood flow and reduces to chance of having blood clots.

Chocolate stimulates the brain

Dark chocolate increases blood flow to the brain and heart, which in turn helps with the thinking process.

Chocolate makes a happier person

Dark chocolate also contains chemical compounds that improve one’s mood and mental health. One such compound is phenylethylamine, produced by the brain when a person falls in love. This compound also helps the brain release endorphins, resulting in an uplifting feeling.

Chocolate reduces anxiety

Eating chocolate results in less stress hormones, according to some studies. Dark chocolate contains a compound related to the production of serotonin, which is a chemical that affects mood. Since low levels of serotonin are associated with anxiety, some suggest that chocolate indirectly reduces this feeling.

byseow@sph.com.sg