Chocolate has gotten a bad rap over for the past few years because of its high fat content, its many preservatives, and the fact that it can be loaded up with sugar. We’re here to tell you that not all chocolate is bad for you. In fact, chocolate can be a good way to boost your immune system!
Recent studies have discovered that cocoa is higher in antioxidants than wine or green tea. These high antioxidant levels can lower cholesterol, boost blood flow, and reduce hypertension. When you reach for that decadent dark chocolate bar to satisfy your sweet tooth, you are also defending yourself against the flu. Dark chocolate is full of flavenols that allow it to have one of the highest antioxidant ratings of all natural occurring foods. But, the effectiveness of cacoa’s ability to boost your immune system decreases with the addition of milk and sugar. Pass up the milk chocolate and look for chocolate that is 65-70% cocoa. The higher the cocoa content, the better it is for your body.
Hot chocolate is another way to get those healthy antioxidants. Now that winter is well on its way, you can get a little warmth from your cup of hot chocolate and a little health boost to fend off the cold and flu. We’re not talking about some of the sugar loaded, artificial flavored hot chocolate packets you get at the grocery store. You should look for a hot cocoa that uses a high percentage of cocoa powder. Some health-focused companies who make healthy hot chocolate also add other herbs such as cordyceps and ganoderma to help boost your immune system alongside the cocoa.
Here is another fun little fact – just inhaling chocolate can be an immune system boost. According to a study published in 1998, thinking cheerful thoughts and/or inhaling pleasant scents can boost your immune system so The Associates for Research Into the Science of Enjoyment tested this theory on chocolate. They exposed subjects to the aroma of chocolate and then tested their immune response. They found that the subject’s pleasant thoughts associated with chocolate caused a positive change in attitude and enhanced immune response. In only 20 minutes there were twice as many beneficial antibody detected in the positive thinkers. But, those who started thinking bad thoughts, or felt guilty for eating the chocolate, impaired their immune response.
So let the guilt go, grab a dark chocolate bar, and give your immune system a boost!