The Decadent Chocolate You SHOULD Eat More Of
By Brandi Monasco
I’m a chocoholic. I love chocolate. When I first started making changes in my lifestyle and my diet, I knew that there would be restrictions on what I could, should and shouldn’t eat. I knew that I didn’t need to pick up that candy bar at the grocery store or munch on those chocolate-covered pretzels as a snack.
But what I didn’t know was that I could actually eat dark chocolate and that it is actually super healthy for your body.
There’s a win-win right there!
The Reasons WHY Dark Chocolate Is So Healthy:
1. It Can Lower “Bad” Cholesterol
Dark chocolate contains flavonoids (pigments found in plants that act as antioxidants), which are the same chemicals that are found in red wine.
Studies have shown that eating dark chocolate daily can lower your LDL (low-density lipoproteins, the “bad” cholesterol). When your LDL levels are lowered, this helps prevent heart disease. In a 2012 study, an associate professor of exercise and nutritional services at San Diego State University concluded:
“Compared to people who ate white chocolate, those who ate dark lowered their bad cholesterol by about 20%.”
2. It Can Lower High Blood Pressure Naturally
The flavonoids that are found in dark chocolate also cause dilation of the blood vessels, which improves blood flow and, therefore, lowers high blood pressure.
“The study analyzed 24 chocolate studies involving 1,106 people. It found that dark chocolate, the kind that contains at least 50 to 70 percent cocoa, lowered blood pressure in all participants, but most notably in those with hypertension.”
3. It Increases Blood Flow To The Brain And Heart
When blood vessels are dilated, not only does your blood pressure go down, but the blood in your body also flows more freely. With your vessels dilated, your brain and heart get an increase of blood flow.
4. It Contains Antioxidants
Flavonoids are a type of antioxidant and antioxidants are what your body needs for the cells to resist damage by free radicals, which can be anything from the medication your body breaks down to environmental pollutants. The antioxidants basically “soak up” the harmful free radicals that enter your body.
5. It Contains Abundant Vitamins And Minerals
Dark chocolate contains magnesium that helps prevent Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Iron, which is needed to prevent anemia and copper, which your body also needs to prevent stroke and cardiovascular ailments are also included in the delicious mixture.
6. It Reduces Stress
When you eat dark chocolate, stress-busting endorphins are released. Endorphins are chemicals produced in your brain that diminish pain and trigger positive feelings such as joy and happiness.
If this isn’t the best reason to eat dark chocolate, I don’t know what is!
When choosing a dark chocolate, it’s always best to look for chocolate that is over 60% cacao. My favorite is 70% or more.
Make sure that the dark chocolate contains organic cacao. There is a huge difference between organic cacao and a Hershey’s bar.
When searching for that perfect bar of chocolate, you might see two different spellings: cocoa and cacao. Make sure to always choose cacao. This is the one that is naturally high in antioxidants and has been proven to have the remarkable health benefits.
It’s not a free pass to go on a chocolate binge, but indulging in 1 or 2 ounces of dark chocolate on a daily basis can have great benefits for your mind and your body!
Do you have a favorite sort of dark chocolate? Please share with us in the comments below!
Brandi Monasco is a freelance writer, graphic designer and social media manager from Texas. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts and has recently found a new love for health and nutrition.
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