When you think about health foods, how often do you consider chocolate?
Fortunately, dark chocolate is a super food! When you consume the right type of dark chocolate, you can look forward to surprising benefits, like boosting your antioxidants, lowering blood pressure and many more.
Here are the surprising benefits of dark chocolate, as well as what type you should be eating:
Lowers Blood Pressure and Improves Heart Health.
Studies show that the compound prostacyclin in dark chocolate is able to help lower blood pressure by increasing vasodilation, the opening and loosening of your arteries and blood vessels. In addition, another study revealed that higher dark chocolate intake is associated with a lower risk of future cardiovascular events.
Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidant compounds that help fight the DNA damage that causes aging symptoms like wrinkles, graying hair, and disease. In fact, research shows that just a single serving of cacao contains more phenolic antioxidants than most foods.
Research also shows that the polyphenols and flavonoids in dark chocolate can help protect your skin from UV damage, which is a huge factor in preventing skin aging.
Studies have shown that just one week of dark chocolate consumption was enough to improve lipid profiles and decrease platelet reactivity for both men and women. This may be due to the fact that the cocoa butter in dark chocolate contains heart-healthy fatty acids.
Improves Brain Function
Dark chocolate has been studied for its ability to boost cognitive function by improving cerebral blood flow, that’s due its high flavanol content. One study showed that the intake of flavonoid-rich foods, including dark chocolate, results in improved cognitive performance, especially in elderly participants. Another study also found that the flavanols in chocolate could prevent and even reverse age-related memory decline.
Research has shown that dark chocolate improves glucose balance, insulin sensitivity and inflammation markers, all symptoms that contribute to the development of diabetes.
Interestingly, a study found that the risk of developing diabetes was reduced 35 percent among men who consumed “dark chocolate snack pieces” once per week or more versus those who never or almost never ate dark chocolate.
Reduces Risk of Developing Neurological Diseases
Flavonoids have been shown to offer significant protection for neurons in your brain and nervous system. Specifically, they reduce neuroinflammation, which has been found to be a major cause of the development of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, their ability to increase cerebral blood flow encourages the growth of new neurons in the hippocampus, which processes memory.
The best dark chocolate has distinct characteristics, including the following:
- High in cocoa: 70% or higher cocoa percentage,higher-percentage dark chocolate contains a higher concentration of antioxidants and nutrients compared to chocolate with a lower cocoa percentage.
- Cocoa comes first: Cocoa or a form of cocoa is the first ingredient.
- No unnecessary ingredients: Avoid dark chocolate that contains trans-fat, milk, artificial flavorings, high amounts of sugar and other unnecessary ingredients.
- No alkali processing: Alkali processing is also known as Dutching. Avoid chocolate processed this way.
- Organic: This type of dark chocolate is more likely to be high-quality.
Follow these tips to make sure your dark chocolate is high-quality, rich in antioxidants and of course, delicious.
Lina’s and Dina’s Diet Center offers the best quality of dark chocolate, that’s there in your dessert and of course to ensure your good health!
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