7 Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate
Research has shown that consuming small amounts of dark chocolate 2-3 times a week may help to keep your heart healthy. Dark chocolate is packed with antioxidant compounds, known as flavonoids, that help to improve the flexibility of arteries and veins, which ultimately improve blood flow and may help to prevent the formation of blood clots.
Helps Fight Premature Aging
As it turns out, not only does dark chocolate taste great, but it’s great for your skin as well. Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants, which help fight the free radicals in your body. Free radicals are one of the primary causes of premature aging. Eating a few pieces of dark chocolate each week will give your body a boost of antioxidants that will neutralize free radicals to help you fight the signs of aging.
Relieves Stress and Anxiety
Dark chocolate can help to increase the levels of serotonin (a neurotransmitter), which works like an antidepressant to reduce your stress and anxiety levels. Dark chocolate also contains theobromine and caffeine, which are major stimulants, which increases the production of endorphins that play a role in giving you a happy feeling.
The main ingredient in dark chocolate, cocoa, has been shown to lower the LDL (bad cholesterol) levels in the blood. High levels of bad cholesterol can clog your veins and the inner walls of your arteries, which can lead to high blood pressure, stroke and other cardiovascular problems.
Increases Brain Power
One study has shown that eating dark chocolate can boost the blood flow to your brain for almost three hours, which ultimately improves your short-term memory and alertness. The cocoa in dark chocolate may also help to improve your response time, concentration and memory recall.
Not only is dark chocolate loaded with antioxidants, but it is also packed with minerals such as magnesium, iron, manganese, copper, phosphorous, selenium and zinc. Along with the minerals, antioxidants and flavonoids, dark chocolate also has high levels of catechins which help to boost your immune system.
Helps Control Blood Sugar
Eating dark chocolate helps to keep your blood vessels health and your circulation flowing, which helps to protect against type 2 diabetes. The flavonoids found in dark chocolate help your cells to function like they should, which also helps to lower your body’s resistance to insulin and instead use your body’s insulin more efficiently.
Dark chocolate contains more than 300 compounds and chemicals in each bite, so to take full advantage of the benefits provided by chocolate, it’s best to take your time and really taste the chocolate. You should also know that dark chocolate has significantly more antioxidants than white or milk chocolate, so if you want the benefits of chocolate, it’s best to skip the milk or white chocolate and eat only dark chocolate.