7 Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate

Can eating chocolate really be good for your health? Well, the possible benefits come from the antioxidant flavonoids. That sounds simple enough, but all chocolates aren’t created equal.

7 Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate

Rule of Thumb: Chocolates will have more antioxidants (usually) the more nonfat cocoa solids it contains. Cacao contains some saturated fat, but most of it is stearic acid. Which doesn’t elevate blood cholesterol levels as much as other saturated fatty acids. Where people end up getting confused is products can have added fat, such as, “milk fat” or “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.” Other fat ingredients, besides cocoa butter, can contain more harmful saturated fats and trans fats rather than stearic acid.

1. May Reduce Risk of Heart Attack

Researchers with the John Hopkins University School of Medicine discovered a couple pieces of dark chocolate a day can reduce deaths from a heart attack by almost 50%. Their research also found that blood platelets were clotting slower in people who had eaten chocolate than those who didn’t. Harvard University School of Public Health concluded that cocoa and chocolate may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease after reviewing 136 scientific publications. (1) (2)

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2. May Improve Arterial Blood Flow

Healthy men who eat flavanol-rich cocoa may improve blood flow through their arteries. The researchers found that after consuming the cocoa the ability of their blood vessels to relax improved significantly. (3)

SEE ALSO: 12 Super Healthy, High-Fat Foods

3. May Decrease Blood Pressure & Increase Insulin Sensitivity

Italian researchers fed 15 healthy individuals 3 ounces of dark chocolate or the same amount of white chocolate (which contains no flavanol phytochemicals) for 15 days. Their findings suggested insulin resistance was significantly lowered, and systolic blood pressure was also lower in those who ate the dark chocolate. (4)

4. May Help Weight Loss

The University of Copenhagen found that dark chocolates are more filling, and offer a feeling of satiety than other lighter chocolates. Dark chocolate can lessen the cravings for sweet, salty and fatty foods. (5)

5. May Reduce Stress

Researchers at the UC San Diego found that people eat more chocolate during times of stress, and a Swiss study suggests that eating dark chocolate can reduce hormone levels and metabolic effects of stress. (6)

6. May Increase intelligence

The University of Nottingham found drinking cocoa rich in flavanols boosts blood flow to key parts of the brain for 2 to 3 hours, which could also increase performance and alertness short term. And, researchers from Oxford University and Norway found those who consumed chocolate, wine, or tea scored significantly higher on cognitive tests than those who didn’t. (7)

7. May Act As A Cough Suppressant

A study found that chocolate can quiet coughs almost as well as codeine, a cough syrup. The chemical theobromine is responsible for chocolate’s “feel-good” effects and may suppress activity in the part of the brain called the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve regulates heart rate, gastrointestinal peristalsis, sweating, speech and most importantly coughing. (8)

Written by Chief Health

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