February 12, 2016
The next time you walk past the chocolate aisle, don’t feel sorry about browsing. Just pick up some dark chocolate, which provides plenty of nutrients and health benefits while still satisfying your sweet tooth.
Indulging in chocolate no longer has to be a guilty pleasure, just make sure what you eat is good, high-quality cacao, and you’ll be reaping plenty of benefits. Just remember the darker the chocolate, the better.
But in case you don’t believe us, here are seven reasons to include dark chocolate in your diet.
1. Healthy For Your Heart
Studies have found that certain levels of chocolate consumption have been associated with a substantial reduction in the risk of cardiometabolic disorders. What are those you ask? Conditions like heart disease, diabetes or strokes.
2. Chocolate Can Make Your Skin Glow
Dark chocolate is extremely rich in antioxidants. Known as flavonoids, they improve skin texture and help protect it from UV damage caused by the sun. In one study, those who consumed high flavanol cocoa powder for 12 weeks had a 25% reduction in sunburns after exposure.
3. High In Magnesium
Cacao is one of the most magnesium-rich plants out there. A 100-gram bar of 70-85% cocoa contains 58% of your daily allowance.
Why is that so important? Many people don’t realize they are magnesium deficient, but this essential mineral helps maintain energy production, nutrient metabolism, oxygen uptake, central nervous system function, electrolyte balance, and muscle activity.
4. It’s Good For Your Brain
Dark chocolate naturally increases blood flow to the brain. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that dark chocolate can protect the brain from stroke by shielding the nerve cells from further damage.
It has also been found to improve memory. Researchers at California’s Salk Institute found that a chemical in chocolate called epicatechin enhanced the memory of mice.
5. Makes You Happy - Chemically
I’m sure you know this first hand, but chocolate has been clinically shown to improve one’s mood by releasing serotonin into the body, which increases feelings of happiness.
One study even found that melting chocolate in the mouth produced feelings of pleasure longer than passionate kissing. I wonder what happens if you combine both?
6. Helps Lower Blood Sugar
This low glycemic treat won’t cause your blood sugar levels to spikes. Dark chocolate improves blood circulation, helping to protect against type 2 Diabetes.
The flavonoids found in chocolate contribute to both reducing insulin resistance by allowing your cells to function normally along with helping your body use that insulin efficiently.
7. In Moderation, Chocolate Could Help You Lose Weight
Dark chocolate is rich in fiber. One 100-gram bar of 70-85% cocoa provides 11 grams of fiber, which will help you feel fuller longer.
Neuroscientist Will Clower says a small square chocolate melted on the tongue 20 minutes before a meal triggers hormones in the brain telling it you’re full, and ultimately cutting the amount of food you subsequently consume.
Try adding a few pieces of dark chocolate or cocoa nibs into your favorite trail mix to feel less hungry throughout the day.