Is Dark Chocolate Really Good for You?
Chocolate is often considered a guilty pleasure for many people. Its decadence and reputation as a dessert food make people consider it to be unhealthy and something that should only be enjoyed as a treat every once in a while. However, there are many health benefits to chocolate, specifically darker chocolates that haven’t been treated with too many additives.
Some people are becoming more aware of this development, but that doesn’t mean that you should stick to a chocolate-only diet. Moderation is still important, but the fact remains that there are plenty of reasons to eat dark chocolate to boost your health.
Dark chocolate contains many nutrients that are beneficial for your body. These include soluble fiber and many minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, and zinc. All of these minerals are important in regulating functions across many systems, including your nervous and digestive systems.
Blood Pressure Benefits
Studies have shown that dark chocolate can help to stimulate blood flow which in turn will lower your blood pressure. This is because it helps produce nitric oxide, which relaxes your arteries, leading to better blood flow. This is not a miracle worker however, and you shouldn’t use chocolate as an excuse to ignore other healthy activities. The benefits are small but could create an advantage when combined with other smart lifestyle choices.
Lower Heart Disease Risk
Heart disease is one of the most common causes of death worldwide, and it is important to keep a healthy heart if you want to improve both the quality and length of your life. There are compounds in dark chocolate that help reduce your LDL cholesterol, which makes for cleaner, clearer arteries. The healthier your arteries are, the less likely you are to suffer from heart disease. Eating cocoa just a few times a week can lower your risk of arterial plaque by 32% - a significant number. Furthermore, eating chocolate regularly but in moderate amounts has shown to reduce overall heart disease risk by 57% in some studies.
Improved Cognitive Function
Chocolate isn’t just good for your body, it’s also good for your brain! The flavanols in cocoa have been linked to improved blood flow the brain, which can greatly improve cognitive function. Those who don’t have proper flow to their brain offer suffer from fatigue, brain fog, and other cognitive conditions. The caffeine and theobromine in chocolate, both stimulants, can also give your brain a boost in the short-term.
While dark chocolate isn’t a cure-all for every health problem in the world, there are certainly many benefits to consuming it in moderation. It is rich in nutrients and contains substances that can help reduce disease risk and improve bodily and cognitive functions. It is important to look for high quality dark chocolate if you want to take advantage of these benefits. Generally, you want something that contains 70% or more cocoa and doesn’t have a bunch of added sugar. If you find the right product, you can be enjoying a delicious snack that is also healthy for you.