Chocolate Health Benefits
All chocolate lovers rejoice! There is scientific proven health benefits to eating your favorite treat. But first, I must say that chocolate is not all created equal. The good kind, the healthy kind, the Dr. Serrano approved kind is also known as a “superfood”. Chocolate health benefits are real, but it comes down to moderation and quality of the product. The health benefits of processed, highly sweetened commercial chocolate are slim to none, but the health benefits of natural dark cocoa are many.
Every year 75 billion dollars is spent on chocolate worldwide. Clearly we all have a sweet tooth, and this is why I am here to help you make the best decisions so that you can actually eat it without the guilt. Now doesn’t that sound amazing? Let’s break it down with these 5 facts as to why having a square of dark chocolate might be one of your healthiest snack options.
1. Antioxidant Power House
Studies have shown that cocoa and dark chocolate contained more antioxidant activity than other fruits they tested, which included blueberries and Acai berries. This is important because antioxidants help defend your body against free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that are responsible for aging and tissue damage and we come in contact with them environmentally, through food and other toxins. So the higher the cocoa percentage, the stronger the antioxidants will be.
2. Lowers the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
A study was conducted on 470 elderly men, and they found that cocoa reduced the risk of cardiovascular death by 50%. Cocoa has been found to lower LDL (the bad cholesterol) and reduce insulin resistance which are both common risks for heart disease and diabetes.
3. Improves Brain Function
Studies have shown the consuming chocolate increases blood flow to the brain and improves verbal fluency. It has also been found that the ingestion of cocoa can protect your brain against dementia and stroke. The flavonoids in cocoa have been to improve a person’s overall cognitive function, so if you are about to take a test or give a speech, bring some dark chocolate with you for a little brain boost.
4. Improves Blood Flow and Lowers Blood Pressure
The bioactive compounds in cocoa can improve blood flow in the arteries and decrease blood pressure. In 2015, a study found that type 2 diabetics who consumed 25 grams of dark chocolate for 8 weeks had a lowered fasting blood sugar level and lower blood pressure over all. Remember, the higher the cocoa percentage the better.
5. Cancer Prevention
Another one of the chocolate health benefits is that chocolate is full of flavonoids. Ongoing research is being done on the cancer protective properties in cocoa, but what they are finding right now is positive. It provides strong antioxidant effects because of the cocoa and because of the positive messages that are sent to your brain from having a pleasurable eating experience. When our bodies are working together physically and mentally we are stronger. Dark chocolate is also full of nutrition. A 100 gram bar of dark chocolate that is 70-85 % cocoa contains:
- 11 grams of fiber.
- 67% of the RDA for Iron.
- 58% of the RDA for Magnesium.
- 89% of the RDA for Copper.
- 98% of the RDA for Manganese.
Now I will note that 100 gram is a very large amount and should not be consumed everyday. Chocolate is still something that must be eaten in moderation, but the health benefits are there, and the studies are proving that the superfood chocolate is a the best cheat treat you should have.
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