Everyone loves chocolate! But obviously, eating too much makes you gain weight. Especially white or milk chocolate is much more caloric than dark. A small square of dark chocolate a day won’t hurt you, and may even provide you with more benefits than you think. Here are the health benefits of dark chocolate:
1. Full of antioxidants
Dark chocolate contains organic compounds that function as antioxidants. Researchers can test the antioxidant activity of foods by essentially setting bad molecules against a sample of food to see how well the antioxidants can “disarm” those molecules. Unprocessed cocoa beans are among the highest-scoring foods tested. In certain tests, dark chocolate has been shown to contain more antioxidants than some fruits, including blueberries and superfood acai berries!
2. Improves brain function
If you’re having trouble staying focused, try having a bit of dark chocolate. Studies have shown that it increases blood flow to the brain, and can even help improve verbal fluency. This «brain boost» lasts about two to three hours according to research, so it’s a perfect boost right before a test or big presentation.
3. Chocolate improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure
The flavanols found in dark chocolate provide a variety of benefits to the body! One of the best benefits is that they stimulate the lining of the arteries to produce nitric oxide. Nitric oxide tells your arteries to relax, which lowers the resistance to blood flow, which in turn reduces blood pressure.
4. Raises good cholesterol while lowering bad
While it is not an instantaneous benefit, studies have shown that small, moderated amounts of dark chocolate can help lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as bad cholesterol, while increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is considered to be good cholesterol. Studies have shown that just a seven-day consumption of dark bar can show a slight decrease in LDL cholesterol, with the strongest results showing after 21 or more days of consumption.
5. Reduces heart disease risk
Because dark chocolate contains compounds that protect against the oxidation of LDL, this means a long-term result would be a lower risk of heart disease. However, it is important to note that this is based on a study of consuming very small pieces of dark chocolate a day.
6. Boost your vision
While there is still some further research and testing to be done on this, a recent study found that people who consumed dark chocolate versus milk had higher contrast visual sensitivity and visual clarity. This enhanced visual performance is likely due to the increase of blood flow to the retinas and brain.
7. Chocolate protects your skin
Another benefit that flavanols in dark chocolate provide is that they can help the skin to reflect UV light, making you less prone to sunburns. In addition, these naturally occurring compounds also improve blood flow to the skin and increase skin density and hydration. Certain studies have also shown that consumers displayed smoother skin!
8. Lowers your body mass index
For all you exercise junkies, this one’s for you: one study showed that the frequent consumption of small amounts of dark chocolate is linked to lower body mass index (BMI). Participants in the study who showed lower BMI ate an average of twice a week, and also exercised 3.6 times per week.
9. Boosts your mood
Do you know those foods that make you feel happy inside? Well, you can add dark chocolate to that list! It relaxes the blood vessels of the brain, which in turn helps to release serotonin, a chemical that our bodies produce to stabilize moods.
10. Dark chocolate is also good during pregnancy
Chocolate would be recommended for pregnant women because, by facilitating blood circulation, it would improve the functioning of the placenta, but also the growth and development of the fetus. In addition, it reduces hypertension.
SIGN UP TO THE MEDIMALL
Subscribe to our newsletter and be informed on the latest news and developments in Health and Fertility