"Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared."—Buddha
There are few things in the world like experiencing and sharing this kind of happiness. Living the moment, loving in the moment, and learning about the moment are all such essential elements of what makes up a good life. Celebrating life is one of our greatest gifts!
There are so many ways we can celebrate life. From cooking a fantastic meal for loved ones to paying someone a sincere compliment, these are all things that bring joy to the world. That's why in this article I want to make a case for celebrating life—with chocolate.
The Magic of Chocolate
Ah, yes. Chocolate. Even those rare few people who say they don't like it, can't help but appreciate the magic of this wonderful food.
Think about it. What do you feel when you bite into that favorite bar of chocolate? It has been described as a divine food by ancient cultures like the Mayans who called it "the food of the gods."
Yeah, it's pretty amazing. Think about that kid (or adult) that is waiting for dinner to be over in order to dive into that chocolate confectionery delight.
Chocolate can build relationships and celebrate occasions from birthdays to anniversaries.
Men, you know that these are a go-to for those apology days, and, (most of the time) it works!
I know you have seen people light up upon reception of a chocolatey gift. It really is one of the most beautiful sights in the world.
Chocolate is an amazing, magical food that can bring joy into our lives and the lives of those around us. But, not only that, did you know that if you eat the good stuff it is good for you too?
The Amazing Benefits of Chocolate
Chocolate is one of the most beneficial foods in the world. Dark chocolate especially anything over 70% cacao content, has been associated with numerous benefits from improving brain function to preventing cancer. Now, we are not talking about Milky Way, that stuff is not good because of the sugars and other additives. If you want a nice treat, make sure you stick with the bars that contain real chocolate. Anyways...
It's so healthy, it has been called a perfect food! I'm not kidding, below, you'll find 5 benefits of this sweet delight of life.
1. Chocolate Can Improve Brain Function
Want to be smarter? Eat more chocolate. Researchers found that eating chocolate at least once a week was enough to improve cognitive performance. The study was published in the Appetite Journal after using Brain Performance tests on a group of 968 adults.
The compounds called flavonoids in chocolate are responsible for this. These along with other pieces such as theobromine and even yes, caffeine, have been shown to improve mental function.
Chocolate for the brain? I'm in.
2. Chocolate Can Improve Your Natural Defenses
There are a lot of toxic chemicals in our world today. Cleaners, smoke, pollutants and more abound and we need some help. The problem is that these toxins are causing free-radicals, groups of unpaired electrons, to build up in our bodies which increase the likelihood of all kinds of issues from cancer to heart disease. You can read about that here. We need some help.
Chocolate can be that help.
The defense against those free radicals are little compounds called antioxidants. Essentially what these guys do is interact with those free radicals, giving them something to "oxidize" instead of your body, which is where the deleterious, harmful effect comes from.
Chocolate is, pardon the pun, choc-full of antioxidants. In fact, compared to other fruits, vegetables and other "superfoods" chocolate ranks the highest.
Chocolate is loaded my friends, this is awesome! According to Positive Health Wellness, "Dark chocolate has a higher ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) score than just about any other food on the planet! Not even blueberries and Acai berries, two of the most antioxidant-rich foods around, had more antioxidant activity than raw, unprocessed cocoa beans."
These antioxidant compounds are essential for high levels of health in your body. It's as simple as this: they contribute to optimal functioning in all parts of your body.
3. Chocolate Can Keep You Looking Younger
Yep. Those same antioxidants and polyphenols mentioned above, also contribute to preventing cell aging. Since your cells are not being destroyed as quickly, then they will be able to maintain themselves better.
Not only that, but chocolate keeps your skin looking great too. Chocolate has been shown to prevent UV damage from exposure to sunlight and to improve overall skin condition.
4. Chocolate Can Reduce Risk For Heart Disease
Now, before you go for that piece of chocolate cake, I said chocolate will reduce it, NOT the cake. 😉
Heart disease has been found to be caused by inflammation more than anything. More than cholesterol, saturated fat, and even genetics.
Chocolate, the good stuff, is well known for its anti-inflammatory effects.
According to Dr. Joeseph Mercola, dark chocolate can cut down your risk for cardiovascular disease by 37%!
It can prevent your blood platelets from clumping which reduces the chance for heart attacks. It can even shield nerve cells in your brain to prevent strokes.
As strange as it might sound, chocolate is heart-healthy!
5. Chocolate Can Help You When You Are Sick
The next time you don't feel well, instead of reaching for the thera-flu, try reaching for a bar of dark chocolate.
Professor Alyn Morice, head of cardiovascular and respiratory studies at the University of Hull, and a founding member of the International Society for the Study of Cough says that "Chocolate can calm coughs,". This is explained by the presence of a compound called theobromine found in Cacao.
The cool things about this is that along with boosting mood, (always good when you are sick) theobromine also helps to suppress the cough reflex. While this may not always be good for all cough cases, for those persistent ones, it can be a lifesaver.
They also found that this effect is realized from cocoa's demulcent effects, meaning its "stickiness" which helps to lower inflammation and irritation. It coats the throat and protects the nerve endings that trigger coughs. (That's why honey and lemon is so good too)
What that means is that (is this so hard) if you are using chocolate for a cough make sure to take your time with it to let it melt and really savor it so it can coat your throat and do its work.
Spread The Celebration and Change The World
Chocolate really is one of those magical foods that affects our lives and our world so much. We live in a time where we need as much joy and happiness as we can find.
I want to challenge you today to do something. Give someone a bar of good, high-quality chocolate. Do it out of the kindness of your heart and watch their face light up. It will, in turn, bring joy to your life.
Dr. Leo Buscaglia said, "Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."
This is true. You can do this. I truly believe the more and more we do these gentle acts of kindness the more kindness and reward we will attract into our own lives.
We want to be healthier and happier. Let's start by helping others do the same.
Thank you so much for reading. Have a wonderful rest of your day.