At one time or another we’ve all found ourselves disgruntled as we power through our monotonous workout routine. Like a caged rodent running eternally towards our great escape, we’re stuck on the dreaded treadmill wishing that we could get the benefits of exercise by doing something that actually made us happy (like eating chocolate).
I can’t deny that after it’s over I do feel better; but I relate the high more to the way a prisoner feels after being released than to the feelings brought about by exercise-induced endorphins.
For those of you that can empathize, I have good news and I have bad news:
The bad news is that chocolate isn’t going to tone and strengthen your body, or help you shed unwanted pounds.
The good news is that chocolate does boost your endorphins! Takeaway of the day: you can get the endorphins without the treadmill!!
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
— Charles M. Schulz
But all joking aside, there are actually many benefits that come from eating chocolate.
Chocolate has been used in many parts of the world for centuries. The earliest recorded consumption of chocolate is dated between 1400-1500 BC. At that time, chocolate was only available for the elite. As early as 1570, cacao was being used for medicinal reasons.
PHYSICAL BENEFITS OF CHOCOLATE
There are now studies showing that eating a small bar of dark chocolate a day does have health benefits. Because chocolate actually comes from the cacao tree, it has many of the benefits of dark vegetables, including:
- Flavonoids – these act like antioxidants and help with anti-aging and protect against free radicals that lead to heart disease.
- Lowering LDL cholesterol by up to 10%
- Lowering blood pressure
- Suppressing coughs — yep next time you have a cough that won’t go away, consider skipping the cough medicine and instead reaching for a piece of dark chocolate. Several studies that show that theobromine (the key chemical in cacao/chocolate) works better than codeine at quelling coughs. A number of us here at Sky Tripping have tried it in our own homes, and with great happiness we can confirm that it works; and best of all no one needs to be persuaded into eating it. I’ve found 1-1.5 ounces of dark chocolate (35% cacao or higher) 15-30 minutes before bed puts my cough right to sleep. For my kids, I typically serve them about half that much (3/4 ounce or so).
NIBBLE ON SOME
WHILE RELAXING TO
VIDEOS OF NATURE.
Download Sky Tripping today and experience the peace and tranquility of immersive aerial videos in nature. DOWNLOAD TODAY»
EMOTIONAL BENEFITS OF CHOCOLATE
The emotional benefits may seem obvious; it makes you feel good, what else matters? But chocolate isn’t merely the most craved confection — there are actually a few “sciency” reasons why it makes you feel better too:
- Chocolate stimulates endorphins, the same hormone that blocks pain and makes you feel happy
- It has serotonin, the main chemical found deficient when you are depressed
Chocolate is high in fat and calories, so binge eating it still isn’t really recommended. But there are real benefits to eating a small amount on a regular basis. Total body wellness comes from feeling good on the inside and outside. It’s necessary to allow yourself to do things that help you feel happy and recharged on the inside. Whether that means going for a quiet walk, getting out with friends, or eating chocolate and watching a movie, taking care of your mental health is a crucial component for overall wellness.
MY PERSONAL TAKEAWAYS
Sometimes life is stressful and we don’t have the physical or emotional energy to do a gym work out. On those days I suggest eating some dark chocolate. And if you feel up to it, throw in a few minutes of light yoga. Your heart will love you for it.