Dark chocolate is becoming increasingly popular due to its many positive health effects, in addition to its wonderful flavor obviously. Studies have been conducted to evaluate the potential benefits associated with consuming dark chocolate, which is packed with minerals, antioxidants, and other beneficial compounds. The results from those have shown something I always hoped was true…. dark chocolate may actually be good for you.
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Heart and Circulatory Benefits
Traditionally, dark chocolate’s primary benefit was due to its high levels of flavonoids — compounds known to reduce inflammation and improve heart health by reducing narrowed blood vessels. Additionally, dark chocolate contains polyphenols such as catechins (antioxidants found in tea) and epicatechins (a cancer-fighting compound present in blueberries). These polyphenols keep your body functioning effectively while helping protect against free radical damage caused by chronic diseases such as cancer, stroke and diabetes.
Additionally, research shows that consuming moderate quantities of dark chocolate can reduce cholesterol concentrations in the blood. Studies have found that dark chocolate can increase levels of HDL (the “good” cholesterol) and lower levels of LDL (the “bad” cholesterol). The cocoa butter in dark chocolate contains small amounts of stearic acid — a type of saturated fat that does not raise cholesterol levels or put people at risk for coronary artery disease.
Dark chocolate also contains magnesium, which is a mineral that plays an important role in the body. Magnesium helps to regulate blood pressure, keep bones strong and promote nerve health. It can also help reduce fatigue and improve your mood by boosting endorphins in the brain. The iron content present in dark chocolate may help prevent anemia as well.
Furthermore, studies have linked consumption of dark chocolate with improved cognitive function. Research indicates that the stimulants contained within dark chocolate increase brain activity like relaxing muscles and increasing blood flow throughout the body; allowing faster thinking processes with better attention span results. Researchers believe this is due to flavonoids, plant compounds located in cocoa beans that are known to promote healthy brain activity.
Scientists have discovered that regular consumption of dark chocolate can help reduce stress hormones like cortisol from affecting our bodies negatively. This may lead to lower levels of anxiety, depression and other mental ailments.
Seven More Things Dark Chocolate May Help With
Eating chocolate may possibly help improve skin health. The potential benefits of consuming dark chocolate include reducing redness and inflammation in the skin, improving hydration, and providing some protection against sun damage. Additionally, the presence of flavonoids in chocolate might promote the production of collagen for smoother and bouncier skin.
Eating chocolate may possibly reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have indicated that compounds, such as epicatechins and flavanols, which are found in cocoa may help protect the brain’s cells. There have also been reports of improved cognitive performance in the short term after consuming dark chocolate, in addition to its potential anti-inflammatory properties, which could help to prevent Alzheimer’s.
Eating chocolate may possibly benefit vision health. Lutein and zeaxanthin, which are found in some dark chocolate varieties, are known to be antioxidants that can help protect the eyes from age-related macular degeneration. Eating a small amount of dark chocolate has also been suggested as a way to maintain healthy vision and protect the eyes from ultraviolet light.
Eating chocolate may possibly reduce the risk of developing gallstones. Dark chocolate can help lower the levels of both total cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol, which could potentially help reduce the occurrence of gallstones. Additionally, cocoa-based products that contain tannins may help reduce the risk of new stone formation.
Eating chocolate may possibly reduce the risk of stroke. Dark chocolate, specifically, contains various types of antioxidants and compounds that help protect against oxidative damage and avert the risk of atherosclerosis. Regular consumption of chocolate has also been linked to lower risks of stroke compared to those who rarely or never eat it.
Eating chocolate may possibly protect against certain types of cancer. Compounds, such as flavonols and polyphenols, that are found in cocoa have been hypothesized to have cancer-fighting properties. Research suggests that these compounds could inhibit cancer cell growth, reduce inflammation, and protect cells from oxidative damage that is associated with cancer. Eating a moderate amount of chocolate may possibly protect against some types of cancer.
When it comes to dark chocolate, the evidence is clear – this indulgence may be truly beneficial to our health, both physical and mental. Not only is it possible that it may reduce the risk of stroke, cancer, and gallstones, but by providing energy, minerals, and antioxidants, dark chocolate may possibly also improve one’s heart health, brain functions, vision, skin health, and overall mood. So, go ahead and savor dark chocolate with no guilt. It looks like it is both delicious and nutritious!