If you’re feeling guilty about devouring that chocolate Easter Bunny this week, perhaps you should focus on all the health benefits that indulgence has brought youâ€”as long as that bunny was made of dark chocolate, anyway.
It seems dark chocolate’s recognition as a superfood just keeps getting enhanced. Most of us have heard about its high levels of antioxidants, which are good for cardio-vascular health. The antioxidants have even been shown to help protect the skin against UV damage. Chocolate also contains theobromine, which is good for the nervous system.
Imperial College in London recently completed a study that showed chocolate can help suppress a persistent cough. Another compound found in chocolate, phenyhlethylamine, is thought to have mood-boosting effects.
Feeling better about that bunny binge yet?
As reported by George Winter, writing for the Daily Mail Online, some doctors are now recommending chocolate as a form of treatment. Dr. K.K. Atsina, formerly of the Universitiy of Ghana Medical School, has used cocoa powder as an adjunct to treatment of hypertension and diabetes in his clinic for many years.
Another Ghanian doctor, Professor F. Kwaku Addai, writing in the journal Medical Hypotheses, describes how he recommends two to five cups of hot cocoa to help protect against malaria. He says other doctors use it to help with everything from eyesight to asthma.
In fact, chocolate has been used as for medicinal purposes for centuries. Winter quotes Professor Donatella Lippi, a medical historian at the University of Florence in Italy, who traces this type of usage to the days of Columbus’s voyages to the New World.
I’m thinking of going back to the supermarket to see if they have any more dark chocolate rabbits on after-Easter clearance.
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