Yes, food and snacks that taste good can also be good for you! Nothing proves this more than identifying the health benefits of dark chocolate. While apples and fresh fruit is sweet and delicious, sometimes you want something a little special. You don’t have to settle for less if you have some dark chocolate available. Start first with the type of chocolate you need. Only dark chocolate provides the real benefits. Milk chocolate not only contains a high amount sugar, it has a lot of milk added, too. Milk interferes with absorption of polyphenols that are in the cocoa bean. The fat profile of dark chocolate has a far better fat profile, too.
Protect your cells with the antioxidants in dark chocolate.
Those polyphenols that the milk in milk chocolate block are antioxidants, which protect your cells from free radicals that cause damage and death to the cells. It also has other free radicals, flavonoids. It has more antioxidants than wine and green tea. You need to eat chocolate that’s lower in sugar and higher in cacao. Bars with the most benefits start at 70% cocoa/cacao and increase in benefits as the content increases. Choosing a bar that has 90% or higher might be too bitter for your taste, even though it’s healthier.
If you buy a candy heart for Valentine’s Day, make it a dark chocolate heart.
Yes, dark chocolate is heart healthy, so what would be better as a gift than a dark chocolate heart? Not only does it have heart protective antioxidants, it also has healthy fat. One study showed that eating just a small amount of dark chocolate each week could improve your cholesterol profile, decrease platelet activity, prevent clotting and reduce inflammation. You can even increase blood flow to the brain and heart, plus reduce your blood pressure. One significant study showed that people who had an increased chocolate intake had a fewer cardiac problems.
Could you prevent mental aging, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s by eating chocolates.
Studies vary and don’t come to the same conclusion, but one thing is fact, chocolate contains the flavanol epicatechin. Epicatechin helps prevent oxidative stress and when used in a mouse study, aided in lowering neuroinflammation—inflammation of the brain and nervous system—and oxidative stress. It also helped reduce anxiety and improve memory. Some believe that oxidative stress and inflammation may be the cause of Alzheimer’s or add to the problem.
- Lower your risk of cancer by eating dark chocolate. It helps prevent colon cancer and the growth of cancer cells by reducing inflammation, blocking cancer cell growth and oxidative stress.
- While eating dark chocolate may boost your health benefits, you can get too much of a good thing. One study showed that eating just 0.2 ounces—6 grams—lowered the risk of stroke or heart disease by 39%. Since the average chocolate bar is 100-grams, that’s about a half of a single square.
- Another study showed that eating a small amount of dark chocolate could improve visual acuity, while also increasing contrast sensitivity. However, more studies are needed as the study was small.
- You might look younger if you eat a bit of dark chocolate every day. The flavonols in dark chocolate help protect the skin from the sun, improve blood flow to the skin, aid in hydration and lower the potential for roughness of the skin.
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