Fabulous Health Benefits Of Chocolate

Good Reasons Why Dark Chocolate is Healthy

There are quite a few health benefits of chocolate. Something so good can't be all bad? If you're suffering from a chocolate addiction, here is some good news for you! Well, good news if you like dark chocolate - 70% cocoa solids to be specific!

So, what about chocolate is healthy? Dark chocolate's health benefits come from flavonoids, which are known for their antioxidant activity. Here are a few more healthy reasons to eat chocolate.

  • Dark chocolate lowers high blood pressure. Studies have shown that if you consume a small bar of dark chocolate everyday, it can reduce blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure. This is because of the presence of antioxidants in dark chocolate. In addition, dark chocolate has been known to lower cholesterol levels by up to 10%.
  • Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which act as antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from ageing caused by free radicals, which can cause damage that lead to heart disease. Dark chocolate contains a lot of antioxidants (nearly 8 x more the number found in strawberries). Just remember, the more chocolate is processed - the less flavonoids it retains - so the store bought chocolate has far less health benefits than a good quality dark chocolate.

    The flavonoids in chocolate are more powerful than vitamins such as ascorbic acid in protecting circulating lipids from oxidation. Atherosclerosis studies suggest that oxidation of lipoproteins is part of the process that creates the plaque that clogs artery walls.

  • Ever wondered why chocolate makes you happy? Well, dark chocolate stimulates endorphin production, which provides the brain with a feeling of pleasure. Dark choc also contains serotonin which acts as an anti-depressant. This is certainly my favourite of the health benefits of chocolate. There is also a substance called theobromine which provides you with caffeine-like stimulation. To top it off, a study found that eating an ounce of dark chocolate a day for two weeks drastically reduced stress levels in the bodies of people who were feeling highly stressed.
  • Someone say Diet Chocolate...Unlike milk or white chocolate, dark chocolate contains very little fat that will affect your cholesterol. Of the small amount of fat in dark chocolate, 1/3 of the fats are actually good fats and is healthy for the body. The remaining 2/3rds are made up of a neutral fat, and a saturated fat. Therefore, the fats in dark chocolate are 1/3 oleic acid (a healthy monounsaturated fat that is also found in olive oil), 1/3 stearic acid( a saturated fat but one which research shows has a neutral effect on cholesterol) and 1/3 palmitic acid (another saturated fat, one which raises cholesterol and heart disease risk).
  • Dark chocolate improves digestion and stimulates the kidneys.
  • Cocoa contains 8 amino acids that are essential to our daily diet.
  • It can act as a stabilizer. Not only does dark chocolate regulate and stabilize the mood, but it's also been found to help regulate the body's metabolism. A random study showed that a daily consumption of 500mg of polyphenol (100-00mg of flavanoids) in the form of dark chocolate for 15 days, improves the sensitivity and resistance to insulin.
  • Dark chocolate is also a good source of copper and magnesium, which helps to regulate heartbeat and blood pressure.
Although there is increasing evidence of the health benefits of chocolates, that doesn't mean you have carte blanche to eat excessive amounts of it! Dark chocolate can easily fit into a healthy eating plan, just don't indulge....too much!

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