Rejoice! We don’t have to feel guilty anymore when we indulge in a little choccy pleasure…
Mother Nature played a cruel trick when she loaded all the yummiest foods with sugar and fat. How are we supposed to enjoy a sumptuously rich New York cheesecake when we know it’ll take five hours on a treadmill to sweat off all the calories?
And, yes, grazing on a celery, kale and Brussel sprout salad might help our intestines function better, but our taste buds will thank us if we smother it in blue cheese dressing and deep fried croutons.
There’s one deliciously sweet comfort food, however, that’s actually surprisingly good for you: chocolate.
It turns out the gooey brown chunks of heaven are packed with a whole range of nutritional goodness.
So, to celebrate the launch of Barambah’s creamy and delicious organic chocolate milk, we decided to investigate the scientifically-proven ways it can positively affect your health.
There are so many minerals and vitamins in chocolate that it’s a wonder there’s any room for the actual chocolate. A 100-gram bar of dark choc has 11 grams of fibre, two thirds of your daily iron requirement, 98 per cent of the manganese you need, 89 per cent of the copper and 58 per cent of the magnesium.
Plus, there’s potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium, and most of the fat is the heart-healthy variety you get from olive oil.
And, if you’re drinking organic chocolate milk, you get all the health benefits of milk too!
2. It fights free radicals
Dark chocolate is one of the best sources of antioxidants and contains even more than blueberries and acai berries. In fact, the raw cacao powder that we use to make our chocolate milk is an even richer source.
3. It makes you brainy
If you want to do better at the pub trivia night, then stop sneaking outside to look up the answers on your phone and start sneaking out to secretly gulp down a Mars bar.
The flavanols found in chocolate help boost brain function, according to a major US study. Subjects were given a series of mental challenges, and those who’d eaten cocoa performed much better as it helps blood flow to their grey matter and stimulates receptors. The researchers even suggested that cocoa could be used to treat dementia and strokes.
4. It protects your skin
Believe it or not, those same flavanols can help protect your skin from the UV rays that cause sun damage. No, you don’t smear Dairy Milk over your body on sunny days – the antioxidants improve the skin’s ability to withstand damage. In a German study, 24 women were given a chocolate milk drink that contained 329 milligrams of flavanols each morning for 12 weeks and their skin didn’t turn as red when exposed to UV radiation as a control group.
You still need to use sun cream and wear a hat, but maybe we can tweak our sun protection routine to slip, slap, slop, sip!
5. It lowers cholesterol
A Dutch study of 470 elderly men found that cocoa cut the risk of dying from a heart attack in half! Other researchers found that snacking on chocolate a couple of times a week means arteries get less clogged with cholesterol.
6. …and blood pressure
Just one small square of dark chocolate a day helps reduce blood pressure for those suffering with hypertension and reduces the risk of developing diabetes.
READ MORE: 10 incredible benefits of organic farming
7. It helps with depression
When a team of researchers looked at 13,000 US adults, they found that those who had eaten dark chocolate during the previous 24 hours were 70 per cent less likely to say they were depressed. And it wasn’t just because we all feel better after chocolate because there was no effect for those who’d had milk chocolate.
The scientists concluded that the antidepressant effect was due to the caffeine, flavanols and phenylethylamine, which increase the release of dopamine.
Oh, and if you need an excuse to whip up a plate of choc chip cookies, some athletes eat them before and during high intensity exercise to get essential energy, protein and carbs. So really, you’re only having them as part of your fitness regime!
Maybe we can forgive Mother Nature after all!