5 Awesome health benefits of dark chocolate
The average American consumes roughly 12 pounds of chocolate each year, and over $75 billion is spent annually worldwide on chocolate. There is a lot of chocolate eating going on regularly, which is why I want to help you make the smart, healthy choice.
That way you can have your chocolate without guilt and with health benefits of dark chocolate to boot!
Chocolate lovers rejoice when the benefits of antioxidants found in chocolate are talked about, but it’s important to realize that not all chocolate is created equal, not even close.
The potential health benefits of processed, highly sweetened chocolate are slim to none, but the health benefits of dark chocolate are numerous and quite impressive.
As preventive cardiologist Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City says,
“When looking for a sweet snack, a square of dark chocolate might, in fact, be your healthiest choice!” Let’s look at exactly why this expert medical opinion really does ring true and why a little dark chocolate is more than just a tasty treat — with health benefits of dark chocolate that include protection against disease and improved brain and heart health.
7 Awesome Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate (also known as black chocolateor plain chocolate) is a form of chocolate which has a higher content of cocoa butter and less milk than other forms of chocolate. Government and industry standards of what products may be labeled “dark chocolate” vary by country and market.
Dark chocolate contains antioxidants, such as polyphenols, and is relatively low in sugar. It has a reputation as a healthier alternative to other types of chocolate, such as milk chocolate. Dark chocolate has also been described as a potential superfood. This has helped lead to a global increase in demand for dark chocolate.
1. Protection from Disease-Causing Free Radicals
One of my favorite benefits of dark chocolate is its free radical fighting ability. Free radicals are unbalanced compounds created by cellular processes in the body, especially those that fight against environmental toxins we’re exposed to on a daily basis. Antioxidants are the compounds that are believed to neutralize free radicals and protect the body from their damage.
2. Potential Cancer Prevention
It may be hard to believe, but that tasty dark chocolate you eat and love may also help you ward off cancer. That’s right — one of the benefits of dark chocolate is its potential as a cancer-fighting food.
According to the American Cancer Institute:
“Given chocolate’s rich supply of flavonoids, researchers have also investigated whether it may play a role in cancer prevention. The studies in cancer prevention are still emerging. A recent review of studies on the cancer protective properties of cocoa concluded that the evidence is limited but suggestive. More rigorous studies should be conducted on chocolates’ cancer protective role, concluded the author, because it provides ‘strong antioxidant effects in combination with a pleasurable eating experience.’”
3. Improved Heart Health
Flavanols are the main type of flavonoid found in dark chocolate. According to Cleveland Clinic, research has shown that flavanols have a very positive effect on heart health by helping lower blood pressure and improving blood flow to the heart as well as the brain. Dark chocolates flavanols can also help make blood platelets less sticky and able to clot, which reduces the risk of blood clots and stroke.
A study published in International Journal of Cardiology had subjects either consume a daily dose of flavonoid-rich dark chocolate or non-flavonoid white chocolate for two weeks. The results showed that flavonoid-rich dark chocolate intake significantly improved heart circulation in healthy adults. On the other hand, white chocolate with zero flavonoids to brag about had no positive health effects on the subjects.