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The Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Updated on November 16, 2019
LoisRyan1965 profile image

Lois has over ten years' experience in the home/herbal remedy field. She seeks to inform her readers and help them save money.

Who does not love the taste of chocolate? It has been said that the average American consumes between 10 to 20 pounds of chocolate a year. The numbers may be higher in other countries around the world. Should we be concerned with the increasing amount of obese individuals and rising amount of people who have diabetes? If you eat it in moderation, chocolate is not bad for you, especially if it is dark chocolate. However, not all dark chocolate is the same. To get the most health benefits out of dark chocolate, make sure it is 70% cacoa. You might not like the taste of dark chocolate because of the amount of cacoa in it and wonder if milk chocolate has the same benefits since it tastes better. The reason milk chocolate has a sweeter taste is because it has a higher sugar content than the dark variety. Once you learn about all the health benefits, you may find yourself loving dark chocolate.

Dark chocolate has many health benefits.
Dark chocolate has many health benefits. | Source

Dark Chocolate is Heart and Brain Friendly

If you want to improve your cardiovascular health, dark chocolate is the way to go. Just by eating four ounces of this chocolate, you are getting over 50% of your Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) in potassium, manganese and magnesium which are all needed to keep our blood pressure numbers at a safe level. When we do not have enough of these in our daily diets, we run the risk of getting high blood pressure. When you keep your blood pressure lower you run a less risk of having a heart attack or stroke. The American Heart Association states that food that contains all these play a key role in reducing blood pressure.

Dark chocolate contains flavonoids which “can stimulate the endothelium, the lining of arteries, to produce Nitric Oxide (NO)” (authoritynutrition). Nitric oxide sends signals to the arteries and tells them to relax. This causes improved blood flow throughout the entire circulatory system and reduces blood pressure as a result.

Because of this improved blood flow your brain function is increased as well. You will notice improvements in:

  • Remembering Things
  • Attention Span
  • Cognition
  • Reasoning
  • Problem Solving

Dark chocolate contains soluble fiber. You need this type of fiber in your daily diet if you are trying to lose weight because it plays a key role in allowing the body to absorb fat and cholesterol and helps remove it from the body. If you are concerned that the good cholesterol is going to be removed along with the bad, there is nothing to worry about. This healthy snack helps raise the amount of good cholesterol in your body. If you are trying to reduce food cravings, dark chocolate is better to eat than milk chocolate. It will allow you to feel full longer and satisfy your cravings for something sweet. Therefore, four ounces of dark chocolate may reduce the chances of binge snacking later on in the day.

Chocolate contains phenylethylamine which is a feel good hormone. Did you ever wonder why a person may turn to chocolate if he is depressed? Or why the #1 Valentines's gift is Chocolate? This chemical tells the brain to release endorphins-hormones that make people feel good. Phenylethylamine also contains serotonin which is effective in reducing feelings of depression.

To get the most health benefits out of dark chocolate, make sure it is 70% cacoa.
To get the most health benefits out of dark chocolate, make sure it is 70% cacoa. | Source

Dark Chocolate Is Loaded With Antioxidants

Dark chocolate contains two powerful antioxidant compounds known as flavonols and polyphenols. These play a role in stopping free radicals in their paths and preventing oxidation stress in your body. This stress is caused by the damaged cells as they attack the cells and tissues in your body and is the major cause with aging and diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer’s disease. Eating dark chocolates and other foods that are high in antioxidants helps reverse the damage caused by the free radicals.

Dark Chocolate is Diabetic Friendly

If you are diabetic, you will notice that certain foods will cause a spike in your blood sugar levels, while other food causes little of no rises. That is because food is not all the same when it comes to the Glycemic Index (GI). “The glycemic index, or GI, is used to categorize carbs according to how they influence your blood sugars” (livestrong). Food that have a high GI are more likely to cause spikes in blood sugar levels. Dark chocolate has a very low GI. Therefore, you will not have to worry about your sugar spiking all of a sudden and crashing later on in the day.

Milk chocolate may taste a little better than the dark variety.  However, it is loaded with sugar.  Once you learn about the health benefits of dark chocolate, you will love it.
Milk chocolate may taste a little better than the dark variety. However, it is loaded with sugar. Once you learn about the health benefits of dark chocolate, you will love it. | Source

Other Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate provides 67% of your RDA in iron. This mineral helps transport oxygen and helps increase the amount of red blood cells in your body. Eating dark chocolate is the way to go if you want to prevent anemia.

Dark chocolate contains phosphorous. Having this mineral in your diet is an excellent way to maintain strong bones and healthy teeth.

Four ounces of dark chocolate gives you 89% of you RDA in copper. Eating this chocolate may prevent premature graying of your hair. One of the reasons why some people get gray hair early in their lives is because they do not have enough copper in their diets.

Dark chocolate can be found in either the candy or baking aisles in your local grocery store. You can purchase it as sweet, semi-sweet or unsweetened. Enjoy your healthy snack!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Lois Ryan


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