Chocolate is a naughty little secret of many. But is it? Science says dark chocolate actually has some really good health benefits.
Dark chocolate we are talking about. Not dairy or white chocolate. They are full of sugar and do not contain the best parts of the cocoa bean. It’s the dark stuff that we are after. 70-80% cocoa chocolate. This is why.
It boosts heart health
Dark chocolate can help restore the health of your arteries. It actually increases your arteries with their ability to relax and contract- which is REALLY important for a healthy cardiovascular system. It also has the ability to reduce clotting in the arteries- which is a major cause of atherosclerosis. Add to this, it can lower your blood pressure, lower your “bad” cholesterol and reduce inflammation in the cardiovascular system. Wow!
It reduces stroke risk
A research study in Finland tested dark chocolate consumption on 37,000 men. They found that a moderate consumption of the delicious dark dessert lowered their risk of suffering a stroke by 17%… That is massive! How does it do that? Well, the anti-inflammatory properties along with the ability to allow the arteries to relax and contract, plus reducing clot formation all help reduce stroke risks too. It is all linked to cardiovascular health.
It is mineral rich
Dark chocolate is packed full of goodies. Potassium, zinc, selenium.
100g of this type of chocolate contains
- 11 grams of fiber.
- 67% of your daily iron.
- 58% of your daily magnesium.
- It also has plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.
All of these are essential for good cell health and function.
It is great for your skin
Yes, you heard right. Dark chocolate doesn’t cause breakouts… it actually nourishes your skin. How? Because of its ability to improve blood flow along with the antioxidant, flavonols, it contains. Flavonoids offer some protection from UV from the sun. But it does not replace sunscreen! It just gives your skin an extra healthy edge.
Yep. True story. Will Clower, a neuroscientist, states that a small square of dark chocolate melted on the tongue 20 minutes before a meal triggers the hormones in the brain that says you are “full”. This has the potential to cut the amount of food you consume in a meal. He continues to say that finishing the meal with the same small treat will help fend off those sneaky snacks after meals and even numb down those feelings of wanting a sweet treat. Because you have already had one!
It may help fight diabetes
This sounds crazy. The consumption of cocoa has been down to improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin which lowers the blood sugars. So eating dark chocolate, in moderation, may help delay the onset of type II diabetes.
Dark chocolate is good for the brain! And may even make you smarter!
Those antioxidants, the flavonols, are really good at improving blood flow. So, an increase in blood flow to the brain helps it function at an optimal level. This leaves you feeling awake, alert and functioning on all brain cylinders. A small British study found that the consumption of dark chocolate improves the mental gymnastics required for numbers.
It improves your mood
There is no denying that a sweet dark chocolate treat can be like a pina colada in the sun kinda feeling. There is so many voices out there telling you what you can and can’t eat. Take this on board. Dark chocolate contains a chemical called PEA, it is the same chemical the brain makes when you feel like you are falling in love. It encourages your brain to release your feel-good endorphins.
A moderate amount of dark chocolate is not damning. It can make you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside and that is ok!
So, the delicious conclusion is….
There is a ton of evidence that cocoa, found in dark chocolate, can provide powerful health benefits. Especially for the cardiovascular system.
BUT, this isn’t the green light to go and eat a block of dark chocolate. It is loaded with calories and it is very easy to overeat.
Also be aware that a lot of “dark” chocolate is not good quality and can cause more health problems than benefits. Make sure you buy a good quality, organic dark chocolate with 70% or high cocoa content. Dark chocolate can contain sugar. The higher the cocoa content, the less the sugar content, the better it is.
What we recommend….. Try one square, or two after dinner each night… and savor that melting moment. It will be like falling in love all over again.