Want to lose weight? Nibble on some chocolates!

ChocolateIt is widely believed that eating chocolates can make one fatter. But according to a new study, consumption of chocolate leads to lower levels of total fat, independently of whether the person exercised or went on a diet.

The study published in Nutrition and performed by researchers from University of Granada, observed 1458 adolescents between 12 and 17 year s. It was seen that higher levels of chocolate consumption led to lower levels of total and central fat estimated through body mass index and body fat percentage. The results were independent of external factors related to weight like age, exercise, diet, etc.

Magdalena Cuenca-Garcia, the lead author of the study, said that chocolate contained flavonoids like catechins which could help prevent heart diseases.

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Other health benefits of chocolate:

1. Reduces heart attack risk - Antioxidants protect the body from aging caused by free radicals, which can suppress the chances of heart attacks. Also it is the oxidative damage by free radicals that is responsible for cancer.

2. Lowers blood pressure - Flavonoids (the antioxidants in chocolate) lower high blood pressure through the production of nitric acid and helps maintain hormonal balance.

3. Lowers cholesterol- Dark chocolate Lowers LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) by 10% according to some studies.

4. Makes you happy Like exercising, chocolate stimulates endorphin production which gives an immense sense of pleasure. Alcohol too gives an endorphin high but then chocolate is a much healthier option and isn't known to cause liver damage.

5. Lowers depression Chocolate raises your serotonin level (neurotransmitter) which acts as an anti-depressant. (Read: Dark chocolate keeps heart disease and other health problems away!)

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