Categories: Food

8 Proven Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Protect your skin, improve eyesight and help prevent depression Love dark chocolate? It’s more than just a tasty treat, quality…

Protect your skin, improve eyesight and help prevent depression

Love dark chocolate? It’s more than just a tasty treat, quality dark chocolate is rich in Fiber, Iron, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese and a few other minerals.
Find out the benefits of dark chocolate and what it could do for your health.

Related: Benefits of Banana

Dark Chocolate Boosts Brain Power

Gorging on chocolate before your exam could be a good idea. Eating dark chocolate can give your brain a short-term boost—increasing your alertness—for two to three hours.

Dark chocolate increases blood flow to the brain so it can help improve cognitive function.
The study about cognitive benefits of chocolate consumption says eating dark chocolate means better performance on the Global Composite score, Visual-Spatial Memory and Organization, Working Memory and more.

Cocoa may also significantly improve cognitive function in elderly people with mental impairment. It also improves verbal fluency.

Dark Chocolate can Improve Eyesight

It’s not just eating carrots that can improve your eyesight, it’s eating dark chocolate too. Researchers found that people who consumed dark chocolate with 720 mg of cocoa flavanols experienced enhanced visual performance—like detecting motion and reading low contrast letters—likely due to the increased blood flow to the retina and brain.

Related: How to Improve Eyesight

Dark Chocolate can Protect Your Skin

Dark chocolate has been known to prevent damage from ultraviolet rays, the light emitted by the sun.

The most effective way to reap this effect would be to eat straight cocoa beans. But if you can’t eat raw cocoa, high-quality dark chocolate will still suffice. The flavanols in 85% dark chocolate are still present enough to have an effect.

Flavanols can protect against sun-induced damage, improve blood flow to the skin and increase skin density and hydration

Dark Chocolate can Lower your Blood Pressure

Chocolate can be a cheaper and more enjoyable way of lowering blood pressure than medical options. If you have slightly elevated blood pressure, a bite of dark chocolate a day can improve blood flow and bring blood pressure levels down, according to research from the Journal of the American Medical Association. The bioactive compounds in cocoa can improve blood flow in the arteries and cause a small but statistically significant decrease in blood pressure.

Dark Chocolate Raises (HDL) Good Cholesterol

Consuming dark chocolate can improve several important risk factors for heart disease. In a controlled trial, cocoa powder was found to significantly decrease oxidized LDL cholesterol in men. It also increased HDL and lowered total LDL in men with elevated cholesterol.

Oxidized LDL means that the LDL (“bad” cholesterol) has reacted with free radicals. It lowers the susceptibility of LDL to oxidative damage while increasing HDL and improving insulin sensitivity.

Dark Chocolate is a Great Source of Anti-oxidants

Dark chocolate contains very high amounts of a number of potent antioxidants. It is loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants. These include polyphenols, flavanols, catechins, among others.

Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. Free radicals are implicated in the aging process and may be a cause of cancer, so eating anti-oxidant rich foods like dark chocolate can protect you from many types of cancer and slow the signs of aging.

Dark Chocolate May Lower the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Small-scale studies have indicated that regular intake of cocoa can have a positive effect in fighting cardiovascular disease. The compounds in dark chocolate appear to be highly protective against the oxidation of LDL.

In the long term, this should cause much less cholesterol to lodge in the arteries and we should see a lower risk of heart disease over the long term.

Related: Dark Chocolate Can Be Part of a Heart-Healthy Diet

Dark Chocolate can Help Prevent Depression

Dark chocolate also contains several chemical compounds that have a positive effect on your mood and cognitive health. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, the same chemical your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love. Phenylethylamine encourages your brain to release endorphins, so eating dark chocolate will make you feel happier.

Related: 8 Foods that Fight Depression

Conclusion

You wouldn’t think any candy bar could ever be nutritious, but dark chocolate nutrition is actually quite impressive. So, go ahead — reward yourself guilt-free and promote your health at the same time with a delicious piece of dark chocolate. But take note, dark chocolate is best consumed in moderation. It’s a smart idea to eat a little piece by itself after a solid meal or include it in a recipe.
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Published by
Randi
Tags: natural