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Dark Chocolate, the Benefits

Updated on January 10, 2014

Dark Chocolate Benefits

Dark Chocolate, the Benefits

Dark chocolate, good for you or is it a dream? Well, studies are supporting that dark chocolate in moderation is really good for you.

First, what is in it? Dark chocolate contains cacao beans these are used to make chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, and cocoa powder that is found in chocolate products. The best part about the cacao is that it’s filled with some very powerful flavonoids. Flavonoids are a powerful antioxidant, and antioxidants’ help the body to neutralize free radicals. Free radicals cause cell damage and disease.

The reason the dark chocolate is better than milk chocolate is because the dark chocolate has more cacao in it. The higher the percentage if cacao the higher the chocolate is in antioxidants. The bottom line is if you are choosing chocolate for your health; choose the dark chocolate that contains at least 60% cacao.

What else does dark chocolate contain that is healthy for you? The flavonoids increase the body’s levels of nitric oxide, this is a gas that causes blood vessels to relax and expand, and this promotes healthy circulation and blood pressure.

There are also three kinds of fats found in chocolate, and they are all found in about the same equal amounts. The first one is oleic acid, this is a heart healthy fat and is also found in olive oil. The others are stearic and palmitic acids, they are forms of saturated fats. However, they are not like most of the saturated fats, stearic acid seems to have a neutral effect on it, where palmitic acid does raise cholesterol levels. Palmitic acid only makes up about one third of the fat calories in chocolate.

Both the Aztecs and the Mayans believed that chocolate was magical, and even divine, often using it in their sacred rituals. History tells us that the Aztec king Montezuma was the first to serve chocolate to the Spanish conquistadors. They were not impressed, calling it a “bitter drink for pigs” but once they mixed it with sugar they were hooked. By the time, the 17th century rolled around it was very popular in Europe, and was considered nutritious, medicinal, and even a libido enhancer.

Today everyone loves chocolate. The milk chocolate is not as healthy as the dark chocolate, in milk chocolate obviously milk is added, and this adds fat to it. We now know that dark chocolate can help to prevent heart disease. Due to the flavonoids that act as antioxidants and help to protect cells from harmful molecules-call free radicals, flavonoids have also been found to lower blood pressure and reduce LDL cholesterol by up to 10%.

Did you know that it can also improve your mood? It has been proven that dark chocolate stimulates the production of endorphins; these are chemicals in the brain that bring you feelings of pleasure. Dark chocolate also contains a chemical called serotonin; this acts as an antidepressant.

Research has been done that supports the fact that flavonoids absorb UV light, help protect and increase blood flow to the skin and improve the skin’s complexion and hydration. One must remember, no matter how many benefits dark chocolate has, it is very high in calories, so try to limit your consumption to no more than three ounces of it per day.

Research supports the fact that dark chocolate is more filling, and it offers a feeling of satiety. Dark chocolate seems to lessen the craving of sweet, salty, and fatty foods. So a little bit a dark chocolate has its benefits, and it should make it easier for you to stick to your diet in general.

It is said to be good for the brain, it helps to improve cognitive function and helps to reduce your risk of a stroke. Dark chocolate contains caffeine, which is a mild stimulant, but it contains much less than coffee.

Dark chocolate also contains Theobromine, which has been shown to harden tooth enamel. This means it can help reduce your risk of getting cavities.

High in vitamins and minerals? No way! Yes, it is true dark chocolate has a number of vitamins and minerals that can help to support and maintain your health. It contains potassium, magnesium, copper, and iron. Interesting facts don’t you think?


Thanks for reading Velzipmur aka Shelly Wyatt

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    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

      I love dark chocolate, and eat a couple of pieces every night after dinner. I knew that it was healthy for you, but am glad to read this to have that reinforced. Voted up, useful and interesting!

    • velzipmur profile image
      Author

      Shelly Wyatt 3 years ago from Maryland

      Thank you I love dark chocolate and it does have a lot of great benefits! My grandfather enjoyed a piece everyday until he passed away at 91!

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 3 years ago from California Gold Country

      There can never be too many hubs about the benefits chocolate. You have a couple of things I didn't know before, like about the endorphins and serotonin. Very complete.

    • velzipmur profile image
      Author

      Shelly Wyatt 3 years ago from Maryland

      Thank you, I learned things while I was researching this topic. Dark chocolate is near and dear to my heart.

    • einron profile image

      einron 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

      I am diabetic but I do enjoy a small piece every day.

    • velzipmur profile image
      Author

      Shelly Wyatt 3 years ago from Maryland

      sometimes we must enjoy life's little pleasures!

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