Of chocolate, that is! It may just be a superfood! Science says you can give into that nagging sweet tooth – but in moderation.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, dark chocolate containing 70-90% cocoa solids is high in antioxidants (shown to reduce cancer-causing free radicals) and contains a healthy amount of plant chemicals called flavanols that may help protect you from heart disease.
In a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Flavanols were shown to support the production of nitric oxide in the inner cell lining of blood vessels and improve blood flow, thereby lowering blood pressure.
Flavanols in dark chocolate may also increase insulin sensitivity and possibly reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes in the long term.1 Additionally, high concentrations of dark chocolate may actually reduce stress and boost your mood and memory.2
More scientific studies are needed to confirm these outcomes, but the observational data is promising!
Here is some more delicious information about dark chocolate:
- Though high in calories, dark chocolate can also help you feel full and satisfied so a couple of small squares a day shouldn’t lead to overall weight gain.
- The heart-protective qualities seem to outweigh the negative effect of the moderate amount of saturated fat contained in dark chocolate. Moreover, the cocoa butter may raise “good” cholesterol and lower “bad cholesterol.” Again, portion control is key, and these indications are not definitive yet.1
- Rich in iron, copper, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus. These are very good for your skin!
- Stored properly, tightly sealed in a cool dry area, your chocolate “stash” can last up to two years.
- Choose natural cocoa, not Dutch-processed, for its higher level of flavanols.
- The higher the percentage of cocoa solids, the higher the caffeine buzz. Two ounces of 70% dark chocolate contains 25-60% of the caffeine of an 8-ounce cup o’ joe.
- Look for “Fair-Trade” labeled chocolate to ensure that your brand doesn’t employ unethical labor practices.
- Sorry, but milk and white chocolates do not offer the same benefits as the dark stuff.
Food Features/Dark Chocolate, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/dark-chocolate/
Effects of chocolate on cognitive function and mood: a systematic review, Andrew Scholey and Lauren Owen, October, 3, 2013, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/nure.12065
Eight Healthy Reasons to Eat Dark Chocolate, Anna Brooks, August 16, 2019, https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-and-nutrition-pictures/delicious-reasons-to-eat-dark-chocolate.aspx
*Disclaimer: Information in this article is for not intended to provide medical advice or to diagnose/treat any ailments. Please consult your personal physician if any topic is of interest or concern to you. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of
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