02/03/2014 08:00 EST | Updated 04/05/2014 05:59 EDT

Chocolate: Good and good for you

Chocolate has been a popular subject of scientific study over the years, perhaps because people want to prove that something that tastes so good is also beneficial. Here are some of the findings:

— Chocolate is rich in phenolics, which help lower the risk of heart disease and prevent clot-like substances from clogging arteries.

— Dark chocolate has been identified as high in oxygen radical absorbance capacity; foods high in ORAC help combat the effects of aging.

— A substance in chocolate called theobromine triggers the release of endorphins, which are chemicals produced by the brain that act like a natural antidepressant and can temporarily relieve the blues.

— Theobromine also suppresses activity in the vagus nerve, which causes coughing.

— The antioxidant content of chocolate is four times that of tea.

— A dark bar, with its high cocoa-to-sugar ratio, may actually discourage tooth decay and lead to fewer cavities and whiter teeth.

Source: Purdy's Chocolatier,