It’s Loaded with Nutrients That Can Positively Affect Your Health
Many of us associate the consumption of treats like chocolate with self-indulgence, increased blood sugar and potential weight gain. And while that’s true of chocolate in general, dark chocolate – made from the seed of the cacao tree – is also full of nutrients and other wonderful things.
Medical research confirms that dark chocolate can measurably improve your health and lower the risk of heart disease, and it delivers other science supported health benefits, too.
Delicious – & Nutritious
According to the Cleveland Clinic: “Dark chocolate is packed full of important minerals, including iron, magnesium, zinc, copper and phosphorus. In your body, these minerals are used to support factors such as immunity (zinc), can help keep your bones and teeth healthy (phosphorus), and contribute to better sleep quality (magnesium).”
Another benefit of dark chocolate is that it’s rich in plant compounds that have protective antioxidant properties. These include polyphenols, flavanols and catechins. The results of a study in 2011, and reported in BMC Chemistry, compared dark chocolate and cocoa powder to ‘super fruits’ – the chocolate was found to be richer in protective antioxidants than both blueberries and pomegranates. This delightful information has inspired us to list three reasons you should add more dark chocolate to your diet. Enjoy!
1. May Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
Diets rich in protective flavonoids have been shown to improve vascular health, helping blood vessels function better, helping lower blood pressure and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. With dark chocolate being one of the most valuable contributors of flavonoids, it may well make a heart-friendly inclusion in a varied, balanced diet.
2. May Improve Brain Function
Because of the beneficial effects on the vascular system, enjoying moderate amounts of high-cocoa dark chocolate regularly may improve blood flow, including that to the brain. Studies also demonstrate that flavanols offer some neuro-protective benefits, suggesting it may be beneficial for helping maintain cognitive function in the elderly.
3. May Modulate the Gut Microbiota & Reduce Inflammation
As reported by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, consuming high-cocoa chocolate appears to modulate the community of microbes that lives in our gut, also known as our gut microbiota. Such a high-cocoa chocolate diet promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria that triggers anti-inflammatory pathways, and as such may reduce the implications of inflammatory conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
There is considerable evidence that cocoa can provide powerful health benefits, being especially protective against heart disease. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should go all out and consume lots of dark chocolate every day. It’s still loaded with calories and easy to overindulge. But – everything in moderation, as they say!
Not All Chocolate is the Same
Also, please take note that a lot of the chocolate on the market is not nutritious. Choose quality stuff: specifically, dark chocolate with 70% or higher cocoa content. Dark chocolate typically contains some sugar, but the amounts are usually small and the darker the chocolate, the less sugar it will have.
One thing we’ve discovered, not only is chocolate a remarkable food that tastes awesome while providing significant health benefits, it also just makes us feel good – all over!