Los Angeles: It's tough to stay away from chocolate delights on Easter, but there are benefits associated with the sweet too.
Chocolate is known for its high sugar and fat content, which can be bad for your waistline, but consuming dark chocolate can have significant health benefits, reports femalefirst.co.uk.
Sally Norton, weight loss consultant at Spire The Glen Hospital Bristol, has given a lowdown on how you can enjoy a bit of what you fancy this Easter.
* Cocoa may help prevent memory loss: Scientists at Harvard Medical School suggest that drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day may keep the brain healthy and prevent memory decline in older people by preserving blood flow in working areas of the brain.
So, a cup of cocoa and a good night's sleep has even more benefits than previously thought.
* Cocoa reduces blood pressure: A review of numerous trials has found that consuming dark chocolate or cocoa can significantly reduce blood pressure. Even amounts as small as six gm have been shown to reduce blood pressure compared to eating a similar amount of white chocolate which doesn't contain the beneficial compounds found in dark chocolate.
* Cocoa may help chronic fatigue syndrome: Scientists from Hull York Medical School showed that people with chronic fatigue syndrome had improvement in their symptoms when eating dark chocolate as opposed to milk chocolate with added brown dye. They postulated that this was due to boosting levels of serotonin, a brain chemical, via the polyphenols found in dark chocolate.
* Cocoa improves cardiovascular health: As well as decreasing your blood pressure, a review of 42 trials looking at over 1,200 patients also showed a drop in insulin levels, and 'bad' cholesterol levels by having the flavanols found in cocoa. Both of these benefits will reduce the risks of heart and blood vessel diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.