If youâ??re not convinced that you should give into that chocolate craving, here are a few delicious health benefits of dark chocolate…

Eat to your heartâ??s content

A few blocks of dark chocolate a day could reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal.

Dark chocolate, containing at least 60% cocoa solids, is rich in flavonoids which are known to protect the heart.

Instead of waiting until you need medication, researchers concluded that the blood pressure and cholesterol lowering effects of plain dark chocolate “could represent an effective and cost effective strategy for people with metabolic syndrome (and no diabetes).”

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The skinny on chocolate

If you think chocolate will ruin your figure, think again! As it turns out, a little on the lips actually trims the hips.

A study by the University of California found that people who regularly enjoy chocolate are slimmer than those who don’t eat much chocolate.

And much to the surprise of researchers, the slim ‘chocolate connoisseurs’ did not eat fewer calories or exercise more than those who consumed less chocolate.

Melt away stress

Feeling overwhelmed? Take 40 grams of dark chocolate a day for two weeks. Now thatâ??s a delicious prescription!

This was the experiment conducted by the American Chemical Society and, according to their findings, when stressed research participants ate 40 grams of dark chocolate a day for two weeks, there was a significant reduction in their levels of stress hormones.

So the next time you have a chocolate craving, banish the guilt and take a bite. After all, who are we to argue with science or refuse a food of the gods?!

Sources: American Chemical Society. New evidence that dark chocolate helps ease emotional stress. University of California, San Diego Health Sciences. Regular chocolate eaters are thinner, evidence suggests, and BMJ-British Medical Journal. via ScienceDaily. Dark chocolate could prevent heart problems in high-risk people