Hallelujah, Easter is on the horizon and that means we will all enter a chocolate coma for the next 72 hours, interrupted only for a roast lunch and perhaps a little spell of self-loathing as we finish our tenth Crème egg.
But because science is the hero we all need, we’ve come to serve up a bounty of studies that justify all our chocolate consumption.
Here are six reasons why you should go ahead and have another square (but make sure it’s dark, will you).
1. It can keep your heart healthier.
If you want to live a long and healthy life, you’ve got to look after your ticker. And the good news is that your daily dose of chocolate could be doing wonders to help protect your heart.
Numerous studies (here and here) have confirmed that a small quantity of cocoa-rich (dark) chocolate improved blood vessel function, lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol. And reduced a dip in insulin levels.
2. It could ward off Alzheimer’s.
Although there has been some slightly suspect studies in this area (confectionary-giant Mars gave 90 elderly people hot cocoa before bed in one trial) there does seem to be some more solid scientific evidence to support this claim.
Resveratrol, a chemical that naturally occurs in both red wine and dark chocolate, has been linked to slowing cognitive decline and slowing the progression of dementia. So it’s chocolate and a side of wine for dinner then?
3. It could prevent bowel cancer.
Oh bowel, you’re such a team player. Yet another reason for us to indulge in that three o’clock office chocolate round is that researchers have found that a daily dose of the dark stuff, which is full of polyphenols, plays an important role in protecting us against disease. In particular, bowel cancer.
4. It can improve your mood.
Now, we’re not ones to say “I told you so” (we totally are) but we always knew that having chocolate was an instant way to cheer ourselves up.
Granted, that doesn’t include falling into the black hole of eating a family-size bar of Dairy Milk on a Monday night, but science says a few squares raise endorphin levels in the brain and gives us that feel good rush. And who are we to argue?
5. It could make you slimmer.
Although this goes against everything we have ever been told about dieting and eating healthily, it turns out there is a God, and chocolate can actually be used as a way to lose weight.
However, it requires moderation. Studies have shown that by not partaking in deprivation diets that cut out treats like chocolate, we are less likely to fall off the wagon and binge later in the day.
6. It tastes bloody delicious.
You know it’s the truth.