Chocolate lovers will agree that chocolate, regardless of the kind, is one of life’s most decadent treats. Dark chocolate is a type of chocolate that just contains cocoa butter and solids without the addition of milk or butter that is present in milk chocolate. It contains much larger amounts of cocoa and less sugar than milk chocolate. Without additional sugar it is referred to as bitter chocolate or unsweetened chocolate. Dark chocolate is considered the most nutritious form of chocolate and is popular for its numerous health benefits. Here are five of these benefits.
1. Heart Health
Consuming dark chocolate, which contains at least seventy percent cocoa, helps improve heart health. It has been proven that dark chocolate helps reduce the risk of heart disease. It contains a type of flavonoid which is a powerful disease-fighting antioxidant. Due to the flavonoids capacity to relax the blood vessels and increase their elasticity, high blood pressure can be lowered and blood clots can be prevented. Better blood flow helps protect us from heart disease.
2. Enhances Mood
We all have bad days where we feel down and not in the best of moods. When you feel that way, have some dark chocolate. It has been scientifically proven that consuming dark chocolate can help enhance one’s mood. For a very long time, dark chocolate has been linked to joy and pleasure. The chemicals in chocolate cause the brain to release neurotransmitters which mimic the feeling of happiness. The neurotransmitter, phenylethylamine, causes the pulse rate to increase and make one happy. Serotonin is another neurotransmitter with mood lifting ability that is triggered by the intake of chocolate.
3. Good For The Skin
Dark chocolate is known to provide the body with many vitamins and minerals which are associated with healthy skin. These include iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper and phosphorus. Manganese, for instance, encourages the synthesis of collagen, a protein that keeps skin appearing young and healthy. It locks in moisture in the skin to help prevent the onset of fine lines and wrinkles. Additionally, antioxidants in dark chocolate are thought to possibly shield skin from the sun’s potent ultraviolet radiation. Dark chocolate keeps skin bright while assisting in the reduction of dark spots and pigmentation. Nutrients such as copper, iron and zinc promote cell growth. Minerals in dark chocolate speed up cell repair. It removes dead skin cells and exposes smooth skin.
4. Improves Blood Sugar Levels
When consumed as part of a healthy diet, studies have shown that healthy amounts of dark chocolate that is high in cocoa can improve how the body metabolizes glucose. High blood glucose levels are brought on by insulin resistance, which is characterized by type 2 diabetes. Scientists have found that flavonoids in dark chocolate lower oxidative stress which they believe to be the main factor causing insulin resistance. The body’s sensitivity to insulin is increased, which lowers resistance and lowers one’s risk of developing disorders like diabetes.
5. Improves Cognition and Prevents Memory Loss
By increasing blood flow to the brain, ingredients in dark chocolate improve memory, learning, attention, reaction time and problem-solving abilities. It has been proven in both young and old that people’s improved blood flow to the brain is a result of the flavonoids in chocolate. According to research, eating dark chocolate can alter the brainwave frequency which can help with memory enhancement and the reduction of stress. Some researchers believe that consuming dark chocolate could slow down the progression of dementia, which is characterized by memory loss and cognitive function.
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