The Mayans considered chocolate to be the 'food of the Gods'. But many parents across the world consider this yummy delight to be a rather sinful indulgence which their children can do without. What if we told you that letting your child have limited quantities of chocolate is not such a bad idea, after all ? From instilling positive thoughts to helping them with their math, this guilty pleasure has its surprising benefits.
On the occasion of World Chocolate Day, here are 10 ways in which your child can benefit from consuming this sweet treat.
1. Forging a bond between child and parent
Parents tend to use chocolates to celebrate their child's achievements big or small or as encouragement to perform better the next time. This interaction fosters a sense of positivity, creating a strong and happy bond between the child and the parent. This sugar-coated little show of support will go a long way in boosting your child's morale.
2. Pleasing picky eaters
Children are known to be picky eaters. They prefer sweet food items over other less palatable ones. Take the example of milk. Not many children will drink it without kicking up a fuss. But stir in some cocoa and it will go down without a protest. If your child is averse to eating fruits, chocolate can come to the rescue. Dip the fruits in a wee bit of the melted variety and watch your child polish them all off in a jiffy.
3.Creating the post chocolate buzz
The anticipation of having chocolate itself makes children quite giddy with excitement. Once they are done with their meal, treating them with a small square of chocolate will release endorphins, the ‘feel-good’ chemical and this will keep them content for some time. The happy buzz given by this sweet substance is known to be long lasting.
4.Improving mathematical skills
If your child is having problems with his math homework, chocolate may be the answer to his problem. Chocolate contains flavanols, which are known to increase blood flow to the brain. The Telegraph published that researchers in the UK found flavanols improved mathematical skills. Those students who binged on chocolate while solving math problems, did them accurately and were less likely to feel tired, the study said.
5.Being in a state of ‘ananda’
You might think that children are immune to the feeling of stress. But the daily grind can get to them as well. This is where a small piece of chocolate can help your child relax. Chocolate contains a compound called Anandamide which derives it's name from the Sanskrit word ananda meaning joy or bliss. This compound activates the same receptors of the brain as marijuana and helps bring down stress levels.
6. Avoiding junk food
Chocolate even when consumed in small quantities can be quite filling. As a parent, one of the biggest worries you have is the amount of junk food that goes into your child's system. Dark chocolate is considered to be a healthy snacking option and when given in small doses can be a good alternative to chips and fries.
7.Giving much-needed energy
Chocolate has gained a bad reputation and is considered to be a potential cause for diabetes. But dark chocolate is loaded with soluble fiber and many essential minerals like zinc, iron, magnesium and copper. It is also a great source of energy and a moderate amount can give the much needed boost.
8. Getting creative
Chocolate lends itself to creativity and with a little bit of imagination, you can plan some really fun activities around it. So take some of the melted chocolate and create flowers, make toppings for cupcakes or simply make some delicate sculptures using moulds. Your child will remember the fun for a long time.
9. Protecting the heart
Chocolate is known to fight against heart disease. It contains flavonoids which are antioxidants and help improve the health of the heart. Chocolate is also said to fight against bad cholesterol and so a little once in a while, will keep the bad stuff away for a long time.
10. Making friends for life
Lastly, no child will ever say no to chocolate! If you feel that your child is finding it difficult to make friends encourage him to share chocolate with his classmates. It will teach him the benefits of sharing and serve as a great ice breaker!
While there is no denying that chocolate tastes amazing, it has to be had in moderation. The darker the chocolate, the better. So the next time at the supermarket, indulge your child with a bar of dark chocolate without fretting!