9 Delicious Reasons to Eat Dark Chocolate!


How sweet it is! Studies show consuming small amounts of dark chocolate not only may be good for your heart but also may lift your mood, help you live longer, and more.

Chocolate tastes sinfully sweet, but you may no longer need to feel guilty about indulging in an ounce or two a few times a week. A growing number of studies show that chocolate, especially antioxidant-rich dark chocolate, has health benefits that put it squarely on the latest list of Superfoods.  A key reason chocolate has so many health benefits is that it is rich in flavonoids, which are naturally occurring substances found in plants that can provide a serious boost in antioxidant action for you.

Studies show that the darker the chocolate, the better. Eat only less-processed chocolate that contains at least 65 percent cacao, recommends Joy DuBost, PhD, RD, an American Dietetic Association spokeswoman. Not only does dark chocolate have a higher concentration of antioxidants than milk chocolate, but milk chocolate is also higher in added sugar and unhealthy fats. Still, the daily dose of antioxidants in dark chocolate doesn’t give you license to indulge in a dessert free-for-all — dark chocolate is still loaded with fat and calories — so eat a max of 1 to 2 ounces a day.

It Fights Free Radicals

Scientists believe when we eat plant foods (luscious dark chocolate comes from the cacao plant) rich in flavonoids and antioxidants, their benefits are passed on to us. Antioxidants protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable oxygen molecules thought to be responsible for agingand some diseases. “When you have too many free radicals in your body, they start to attack your cells, and that can lead, over time, to low-grade inflammation and to some diseases — cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s,” DuBost says.

It Prevents Heart Disease

Among dark chocolate’s most researched benefit is its role in preventing heart disease. British researchers analyzed seven studies on chocolate and cardiovascular health involving more than 114,000 people in the United States, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, and Sweden and found that people who ate more chocolate significantly reduced their risk for heart disease.  Researchers concluded that people who ate the most chocolate weekly had a 37 percent lower risk of any heart disease than those who ate the least amounts of dark chocolate.

It Decreases Stroke Risk

A recent study by Swedish researchers found that women who ate high amounts of chocolate — about two candy bars per week — had a 20 percent lower risk of stroke. In a similar study, British researchers also found that people who ate more chocolate were 30 percent less likely to have a stroke. However, researchers added that more study is needed to determine the exact amount and types of flavonoid-rich chocolates that would be most help lessen stroke risk.

It Raises Good Cholesterol

Dark chocolate is also being touted as a cholesterol-lowering superfood. It’s the cocoa butter that does the trick, DuBost explains. Cocoa butter contains oleic acid, which is a monounsaturated fat — the same fat you find in heart-healthy olive oil. Scientists believe that this monounsaturated fat can actually raise your HDL, or good, cholesterol.  However, DuBost says, many of the studies on chocolate and good cholesterol are short-term, and it may be premature to say that chocolate is a cholesterol cure-all.

It Lowers Blood Pressure

A German study of the diets of more than 19,000 people found that eating chocolate may help lower blood pressure, and in turn, cardiovascular disease risk.  A widespread analysis of numerous studies on the topic conducted by Australian researchers also found limited but noticeable blood pressure benefits from eating the Superfood.  Again, very few studies pinpoint the exact amount of dark chocolate or flavonoids needed to get this effect, and more scientific study is needed.

It Improves Vision

Dark chocolate may have something in common with carrots: Researchers from the University of Reading in England tested the eyesight of 30 healthy adults, 18 to 25 years old, after they ate white and dark chocolates. The subjects performed better on visiontests after eating the dark chocolate. It could be that the flavanols in dark chocolate, which improve blood flow to the brain, improve blood flow to the retina as well — and white chocolate doesn’t have nearly the same amount of flavanols as dark chocolate.

It’s a Mood Booster

No, it’s not your imagination; some research supports the idea that chocolate really can boost your mood. It’s the fatty acids that do the trick, and dark chocolate contains two saturated fatty acids — palmitic and stearic acids — in addition to its health-boosting flavonoids. More research needs to be done, DuBost says, but studies have found that chocolate in particular can make you feel happier and improve your mood.  The theory is that chocolate stimulates the neural activity in the regions of the brain associated with pleasure and reward, she says.

It Helps Prevent Cancer

Evidence that dark chocolate may play a role in cancerprevention is limited but growing. Some preliminary studies on three continents — Europe, Asia, and North America — have shown that people who eat many flavonoids or a lot of antioxidant-rich chocolate develop fewer cancers than those who don’t consume them. Of the many flavonoids in chocolate, two in particular, epicatechin and quercetin, are believed to be responsible for the cancer-fighting properties.

It May Help You Live Longer

As if the other benefits weren’t enough, a Harvard University study found that one or two doses of dark chocolate per week could even help you live longer.   In the study, researchers compared men who ate chocolate with those who didn’t and found that the former group lived one year longer. More research is still being conducted to determine the exact role chocolate plays in longevity.

 

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About thelifestylechanger

Glenda De Luca has spent over 25 years in the Beauty Industry, and has transitioned from the temporary beauty fix to permanent health and well-being, helping others transform their outer beauty based on nutrition and movement. She has also spent two years doing extensive research on the effects of pH levels in the body, and its profound impact on your health and well being. THE LIFESTYLE CHANGER Orange County, CA, USA 949.215.5701 Office 408.398.8043 Cell E-mail: thelifestylechanger@live.com Glenda has a Bachelor of Science degree in Para Psychic Sciences as well as a Level 2 Reiki Certification and is currently studying for her Masters in Holistic Nutrition. She lives a healthy lifestyle where she incorporates what she loves to eat based on a pH balanced diet, food combining, and customized supplementation based on her own personal DNA. She also incorporates movement into her Lifestyle to achieve the perfect weight and health. She is passionate about helping others achieve their Health and Wellness "Desired Results" in a manner that is fun, easy and sustainable.
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