The Many Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

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The Many Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

How many times have you considered chocolate as a health food? 

Well, you should know that dark chocolate is considered a superfood

If you eat high-quality dark chocolate, you can expect the best benefits. 

These include:

  • Increasing your antioxidants
  • Reducing your blood pressure and, 
  • Reducing your overall risk of cancer

Dark chocolate (also referred to as cacao – before it becomes a chocolate bar), has been used throughout history for its health benefits as a natural ingredient. 

The health benefits of dark chocolate vary, here’s of them:

8 Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate 

Dark chocolate has a lot of benefits stemming from the potent antioxidant compounds present such as: 

  • Procyanidins
  • Polyphenols and, 
  • Flavonoids

These compounds play a huge role in preventing: 

  • DNA damage
  • Regulating your glucose levels, and
  • Preventing inflammation

#1 Reducing Blood Pressure And Improving Heart Health 

Dark chocolate has been proven to improve your blood pressure levels and the health of your heart.  

It contains prostacyclin, a compound that reduces blood pressure by improving vasodilation (the process of contracting and relaxation of the blood vessels). 

It has also been proven to reduce any cardiovascular events. 

Regular consumption of cacao can reduce myocardial infarction and instances of stroke. 

Therefore, it’s very good for your body and should be included in beverages that will reduce your risk of heart disease and many other issues.

#2 Fights Aging

Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that help prevent DNA damage often associated with symptoms such as disease, wrinkles or greying hair. 

Research has discovered that a single serving of cacao has phenolic antioxidants than what’s present in most foods. 

It also contains flavonoids and polyphenols that can protect your skin from UV damage, one of the main ways to prevent skin aging. 

The healthy life experts at Flex Osteopathy acknowledge that “we all want to age gracefully, and antioxidant-rich diets are vital to achieving that. Including antioxidants wherever you can in your diet – from green tea to dark chocolate and blueberries – will help reduce the free radicals in your body responsible for the DNA damage that causes many symptoms of aging.”

The Many Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate- beneficial dark chocolate block


#3 Reducing Cholesterol 

Besides improving the health of your heart and reducing your blood pressure, dark chocolate also has a few benefits when it comes to reducing cholesterol levels. 

Taking dark chocolate for one week will improve the lipid profiles and reduce the platelet’s reactivity for both genders. 

That’s because cocoa butter found in dark chocolate contains some of the heart-healthy fatty acids usually found in olive oil. 

With so many treats barred from people with cholesterol problems, dark chocolate is one you can enjoy guilt-free. Natural health professional, Janine Brundle, says that “dark chocolate is one of the many things that I recommend to my patients who are struggling with high cholesterol. If you are suffering from high cholesterol, it is likely you will have to cut out a lot of delicious foods. Dark chocolate is good as it has the healthy fatty acids, and is a treat that you can enjoy in moderation without guilt.”

#4 Improves Brain Function 

Dark chocolate can also boost your brain function since it increases the blood flow to the cerebral cavity. 

That’s because it has a high flavanol content. 

A recent study identified that taking foods rich in flavonoids such as chocolate, tea or wine, will improve cognitive performance, especially in elderly individuals. 

It’s also been identified that foods rich in flavanols such as chocolate can prevent and reverse any memory decline brought about by dark chocolate. 

#5 Anti-Diabetic Effects 

Dark chocolate has been proven to improve glucose balance, reduce inflammation and improve your insulin sensitivity. 

These are the known markers for diabetes. 

Researchers have identified that dark chocolate is the only contributor to this effect but doesn’t come from white chocolate.  Just be mindful of the sugar content in many chocolates. 

It is important to carefully choose your chocolate wisely to reap the anti-diabetic effects. This is reinforced by naturopath Verona Chadwick from Get A Healthy Life, who says that “the trap that people fall into is consuming chocolate high in sugar, which will outweigh the benefits of the cocoa. Be careful and read the nutrition information on the back of the packet before purchasing it. The higher the percentage of cocoa, the better, but choosing dark chocolate that is at least 70% cacao and choosing varieties with less sugar is a good place to start.”

#6 Reducing The Risk Of Getting Cancer 

Researchers have identified that chronic inflammation has factors that can contribute to cancer such as abnormal cell growth and DNA mutations. 

Antioxidants found in dark chocolate can prevent DNA damage that might cause cancer or inflammation enzymes that can contribute to cancer. 

#7 Reduce The Risk Of Developing Neurological Diseases 

Flavonoids protect your neurons in the nervous system and your brain. 

They are known to reduce neuro-inflammation one of the major causes of major illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s.

They also have the ability to increase blood flow to the cerebral capacity thus boosting the growth of neurons in the hippocampus, the area that processes memory. 

Note that elderly people often suffer from memory-related illnesses due to old age. 

However, with dark chocolate, these symptoms can be delayed accordingly or reduced considerably. 

The Many Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate- assortment of vegetables , fruit and cereal

##8 Increase Satiety And Reduce Appetite

If you are worried that chocolate is not a good thing for a healthy diet, you are wrong. 

If you are trying to lose weight, you can use dark chocolate to reduce your cravings thus helping you keep the extra pounds off. 

It’s been identified that dark chocolate reduces overall appetite and improves satiety. 

Therefore, if you are satisfied with eating dark chocolate, you can avoid eating more meals that will lead to weight issues. 

Still sceptical about adding dark chocolate to your daily diet?

Here’s everything you need to know about clean eating.

Featured Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash
Sarah Miller

Sarah writes about her personal journey, learning, life optimisation and her passions. For more thoughts and ideas, you can connect with Sarah on Twitter

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