Your Hormones & Chocolate

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Your Hormones And Chocolate

Have you heard the reports that chocolate can be a healthy treat? They are not unfounded! Chocolate, when consumed in moderation, can benefit your health. Before you overindulge in chocolate-laden treats, consider these facts about chocolate health benefits.

Dark Chocolate Can Help Your Health

The health benefits of chocolate come from the antioxidants in cocoa, so the higher the cocoa content of the chocolate, the more chocolate health benefits you will see. This is why the health benefits of dark chocolate are much more helpful than the health benefits of milk chocolate. Dark chocolate contains at least 50 percent cocoa and has less sugar than other forms of the chocolate. When consumed in moderation, it can help improve hormone health and overall body health.

Proven Health Benefits of Chocolate

As you decide whether or not you will add chocolate to your diet, consider these common benefits:

  • Limit Stress — Cocoa contains compounds that react with the body to limit the excretion of stress hormones.
  • Feel Full Faster — Cocoa contains stearic acid, which slows digestion and controls the appetite.
  • Heart Health Benefits — Dark chocolate has flavanols, which are antioxidants that can improve blood flow and lessen buildup of bad cholesterol.
  • Lower A1C Levels — Dark chocolate can have a stabilizing effect on blood sugar levels because it is low on the glycemic index.
  • Mood Boost — Anandamide, a neurotransmitter in chocolate, can help people feel happier.

In light of these heath benefits of dark chocolate, feel free to add some to your diet.

Chocolate Cravings Can Be Hormonal

Many people, both men and women, experience chocolate cravings. Decreased blood sugar levels can cause individuals to crave chocolate and the sugar it contains. The temporary boost caused by serotonin can also lead to cravings, because the individual wants the feeling to continue after it wears off.

Women, in particular, may notice their cravings for chocolate increase when they are menstruating. Fluctuating hormone levels can cause mood swings, irritability, fatigue between meals and low blood sugar levels. These, in turn, can create chocolate cravings.

What should you do if you have a chocolate craving? Don't be afraid to indulge, just a little. A recommended serving of chocolate is two small squares of dark chocolate per day, or one ounce. That may be enough to curb your craving and allow you to enjoy the health benefits of the treat, without consuming too much of the sugar and fat typically included in chocolate desserts.

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