6 Health Benefits You Experience When You Eat Dark Chocolate
Jenna got home after a stressful day at work and flung open her pantry door. She dug around in the back where she hid her secret stash of chocolate from the rest of her family.
She pulled open the wrapper, slouched down in her favorite chair, and felt the stress of the day melt right off of her as the delicious chocolate melted in her mouth.
But she knew what would follow – that guilt that typically overcame her as soon as she indulged in something so tasty!
There’s not much better than diving into some delicious, velvety chocolate. But something that decadent can’t be good for you… or can it?
While you really shouldn’t turn to comfort food to cope with stress like Jenna, studies show that consuming dark chocolate can actually be beneficial to your health! Discover 6 key ways dark chocolate is good for you!
6 HEALTH BENEFITS YOU EXPERIENCE WHEN YOU EAT DARK CHOCOLATE
1. IT’S GOOD FOR YOUR HEART.
Small amounts of dark chocolate 2-3 times a week can lower your blood pressure, improve blood flow and may prevent the formation of blood clots and arteriosclerosis.
2. IT’S RICH IN VITAMINS AND MINERALS.
Dark chocolate contains potassium and copper, which help prevent strokes and cardiovascular disease. It is a good source of magnesium, which helps to protect against heart disease, high blood pressure, and Type II diabetes. It is also a source of iron to help protect against iron-deficiency anemia.
3. IT CONTAINS THEOBROMINE.
This compound has been shown to harden tooth enamel and when combined with proper dental hygiene can lower your risk of cavities compared to other sweets.
4. IT’S LOADED WITH ANTIOXIDANTS.
Antioxidants help your body fight free radicals which cause oxidative damage to your cells. Higher amounts of antioxidants help to reduce inflammation in the body.
5. IT HELPS TO CONTROL BLOOD SUGAR.
Dark chocolate has a low glycemic index which won’t cause large spikes in blood sugar levels. It also contains flavonoids which help to reduce insulin resistance.
6. IT’S GOOD FOR YOUR BRAIN.
Dark chocolate increases blood flow to the brain and heart and can help to improve mood and cognitive function. It may boost levels of serotonin and endorphins, the feel-good chemicals, in the brain. It also helps to reduce your risk of stroke.
When perusing the shelves for that perfect box of chocolates, be sure to choose a good quality chocolate as not all chocolate is created equal.
4 THINGS TO LOOK FOR WHEN CHOOSING THE BEST DARK CHOCOLATE
1. COCOA PERCENTAGE
The amount of cocoa in dark chocolate will range in percentage from 60 percent to 95 percent. Dark chocolate should be at least 60 percent, but the higher the cocoa percentage, the higher the number of potential health benefits. As the percentage increase, the chocolate will be less sweet.
2. ADDED INGREDIENTS
Be sure to check the ingredients on your chocolate. Because dark chocolate is naturally bitter, some manufacturers will add sugar to make it taste more appealing. Be on the lookout for other ingredients like added oils or artificial flavorings.
3. ALKALI PROCESSING
It is recommended to avoid chocolate that has been processed with alkali, which can lower the benefits of dark chocolate.
4. FAIR TRADE AND ORGANIC
Choosing fair trade ensures the promotion of fair wages for chocolate farmers as well as promoting safe growing practices. Organic foods do not contain pesticides, herbicides, genetically modified ingredients or synthetic chemicals, which is better for your body and the environment.
TO WRAP IT UP
Dark chocolate doesn’t have to be your dark secret. Look for the above criteria when choosing the perfect dark chocolate, consume it in moderation, and add it to your list of healthy foods.
After all, you can’t go wrong with chocolate… dark chocolate that is!
Looking for a delicious, chocolate recipe? Try these Lip Lickin’ Chocolate Cupcakes!