We’ve all heard that we should eat more fruits and vegetables. But, who among us wouldn’t like to hear “eat more chocolate”? Sounds too good to be true, right? But nutrition science is happily revealing that chocolate can, in fact, be good for you! Amazingly, chocolate has many benefits.
And you don’t have to eat massive amounts to reap the rewards. Eating just 1 to 2 ounces of chocolate every day may result in some major health benefits. But, it’s important to choose the right kind of chocolate. Make sure you choose dark chocolate with at least 70% or more cacao/cocoa content. The darker the chocolate, the higher amount of key vitamins and minerals. These include things like magnesium, manganese, fiber, iron, copper, selenium, phosphorus and potassium.
Improved Blood Flow
The flavanols found in dark chocolate help arteries relax, improving blood flow and preventing clots.
Lower Risk Of Heart Disease
The compounds in dark chocolate reduce LDL (low density lipoprotein – otherwise known as “bad cholesterol”). They also support cardiovascular health by lowering the risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure.
Researchers have found that chocolate increases blood flow to the brain.
Studies have revealed that people who ate about 3 ounces of dark chocolate a day for 15 days lowered their insulin resistance significantly.
Dark chocolate produces stress busting endorphins.
Dark chocolate enhances the actions of neurotransmitters in your brain, like serotonin, to help regulate your mood and sleep.
Good for Teeth
Dark chocolate contains theobromine, which has been proven to harden tooth enamel. It also contains cocoa butter which covers teeth with a protective coating, impeding bacteria growth.
Improved Gastrointestinal Flora
Dark chocolate is a probiotic food.
Findings published in The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggest that a little dark chocolate might boost oxygen availability during fitness training. The scientists believe that the success of dark chocolate in this case is that it contains flavonols known as epicatechins, which enhance the release of nitric oxide in the body.
This Valentine’s Day, don’t hesitate to buy your loved one a box of chocolates – just make sure they are dark chocolates. When eaten in moderation, dark chocolate’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties make it a great choice for a treat (after you’ve eaten a meal of healthy protein and good veggies and fruit of course)!