Who doesn’t love chocolate? Though most of us crave chocolate, we tend to avoid it because we think it is fattening and unhealthy. And that would be true of most chocolate products. But that is because of the added substances like sugar and not because of the core cocoa itself. In fact, cocoa is highly nutritious and has a range of health benefits to offer.Health BenefitsEnergy Boost: Cocoa nibs contain a substance called theobromine, a central nervous system stimulant that has a similar, though less powerful, stimulating effect as caffeine. It may give you a healthy energy boost if you’re feeling low during the day.Mood Elevators: Cocoa contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid required for the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Enhanced serotonin levels can quell anxiety and enhance mood. Eating cocoa also helps to release endorphins, the body’s natural opiates. Endorphins are what give runners that natural high. Eating cocoa can have a similar effect and may explain why some people become self proclaimed chocoholics.Appetite Control: Cocoa contains chromium an important mineral for stabilizing blood sugar and reducing appetite.Improve Circulation: Cocoa is a great source of flavanols, powerful antioxidants that play an important role in circulation. Flavanols help to prevent clogged arteries by helping to stop fatty acids from oxidizing in the bloodstream. Flavanols also help make blood platelets less sticky, which reduces the risk of blood clots, heart attacks and strokes.Improve Cholesterol Levels: Cocoa contains healthy monounsaturated fats. The same fats found in olive oil. These healthy fats have been shown to raise good cholesterol (HDL) levels.