If you're a fan of the sweet stuff, you'll probably jump for joy at this delicious finding: Research suggests that regular chocolate eaters may more frequently have lower BMIs.
Before you reach for that Snickers, remember this: While chocolate can do the body good, the study certainly doesn't go as far as proving a causal link between eating more chocolate and losing weight. Keep in mind that all chocolate was not created equal: Dark chocolate packs more of a health punch overall, but even the bittersweet varieties can be high in calories, fat and sugar.
However, treating yourself to a small amount of chocolate regularly is definitely a health message we can get behind. Take a look at some of the surprising health benefits below, then tell us in the comments why chocolate is a part of your healthy diet.
A 2011 Swedish study found that women who ate more than 45 grams of chocolate a week had a 20 percent lower risk of stroke
than women who treated themselves to fewer than 9 grams of the sweet stuff.
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Because it's rich in fiber, dark chocolate can actually help keep you full, so you'll eat less, Dr. David Katz, founding director of Yale University's Prevention Research Center and HuffPost blogger told The Huffington Post
. Regular chocolate eaters might do themselves a favor by treating themselves to a bite instead of snacking on "11 other things first" he said.
Dark chocolate does the trick much better than milk, according to a small study from the University of Copenhagen, and may even reduce cravings
for sweet, salty and fatty foods.
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Forget what you've heard about chocolate causing breakouts: Dark chocolate is actually good for your skin. The type of antioxidants called flavonoids found in dark chocolate offer some protection from UV damage
from the sun. And no, that does not mean you can skip the sunscreen!
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Because of chocolate's ability to improve blood flow, in particular to the brain, researchers at the University of Reading hypothesized in a small 2011 study that chocolate may also increase blood flow to the retina
, thereby giving vision a boost.
That boost of blood flow to the brain created by cocoa's flavanols seems to make people feel more awake and alert, and, in a small British study, perform better on counting tasks
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