Who says the only type of healthy food is salad? We take a closer look at the 8 health benefits of eating dark chocolate, and how this delicious treat can help you live a better life.
Overeating sugar and fat can cause health problems which is a problem for people who love chocolate. So many people want to eat this sweet treat but it is avoided by many. However, the main ingredient of chocolate, cocoa beans, and cocoa powder has a range of health benefits. Dark chocolate can also improve memory and reduce stress which you can easily add into cookies. So, if you have a sweet tooth, start eating dark chocolate chip cookies, and you can find the best dark chocolate chips for your cookies here.
When purchasing a bar, pay attention to the other ingredients like sugar and fat because overconsumption can be harmful. Find out below about all of the health benefits of dark chocolate and why you should start eating it now.
Dark chocolate can improve your mood by releasing endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters in the brain that make you feel good. They reduce pain and cause a euphoric feeling. Dark chocolate contains phenylethylamine, the same type of neurotransmitter found in the brains of people who fall in love. This chemical is released when you eat chocolate, causing a rush of euphoria and excitement. So, next time you are feeling down or anxious, eat some dark chocolate for an instant mood boost.
Dark chocolate has been linked with heart health benefits. Chocolate contains flavonoids and polyphenols which are antioxidants that can help combat cardiovascular disease. Polyphenols help to improve blood flow and lower cholesterol levels. The cocoa bean also contains magnesium which is a mineral that controls blood pressure. Dark chocolate is also high in fiber which reduces cholesterol and prevents heart disease. Dark chocolate can lower blood pressure so it’s important to eat it in moderation. Too much dark chocolate can also cause stomach upset and diarrhea.
Lowers Blood Pressure
The antioxidants in dark chocolate can lower blood pressure. This is thanks to the flavonoids which protect the arteries from oxidation and other free radicals that damage them over time. Chocolate also has magnesium which helps to regulate blood pressure and prevent high blood pressure. And eating dark chocolate with nuts can further enhance the health benefits because nuts are packed with vitamin E which is also beneficial for blood pressure.
Cocoa Can Reduce Risk of Death
The caffeine and niacin in cocoa have been shown to reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by improving circulation and lowering blood pressure. Flavonoids also help to reduce inflammation and improve blood flow to the brain and heart. In addition, dark chocolate has anthocyanins which are antioxidants that can prevent heart disease and dementia.
Helps Curb Appetite
Dark chocolate is a good way to satisfy your sweet tooth without overdoing it on sugar. Cocoa is naturally sweet so you need less added sugar than when eating other types of chocolate. Eating dark chocolate can curb cravings for sugary snacks like cookies and cake. Although dark chocolate does contain sugar, it’s a healthier option than other sweets because it doesn’t contain as much fat or calories.
Healthier Option than Fatty Snacks
Dark chocolate may be higher in fat than other types of chocolate but it is still a healthier option. It contains less saturated fat than milk chocolate and more unsaturated fat than white chocolate, which means that it is less bad for your heart than other types of chocolate. Unsaturated fat is healthier than saturated fat because it lowers cholesterol levels and protects the arteries from damage due to inflammation.
In addition, dark chocolate is not as high in sugar as other sweets like ice cream or cake because it usually contains far less added sugar than milk or white chocolate. This means that it has fewer calories per serving than other sweet treats, making it easier to eat in moderation.
Improves Memory and Brain Function
Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that are essential for brain function. Antioxidants combat free radicals in the body which are linked with an increased risk of dementia, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease. Dark chocolate may even improve memory because it contains flavonoids that stimulate nerve growth in the brain. Flavonoids also help to get rid of beta-amyloid plaques which have been linked with memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease. So, next time you study for an exam or need to get work done, reach for a piece of dark chocolate instead of a sugary snack for an energy boost.
Dark chocolate contains phenylethylamine, a neurotransmitter that is the same chemical found in the brains of people who fall in love. This chemical causes a rush of euphoria and excitement, making you feel happy and relaxed. Dark chocolate is a mood booster because it releases endorphins which also make you feel good. Studies have shown that eating chocolate can reduce depression and anxiety, making it a healthier alternative to sugary snacks which can cause weight gain. So, next time you are feeling down, reach for a piece of dark chocolate to rid yourself of that blue mood.
So after learning all the benefits you may be wondering how much dark chocolate should you consume? For general health, dark chocolate should be consumed in moderation. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 100 calories per day from dark chocolate for women and 150 calories per day for men. However, because dark chocolate is high in fat, it’s important to keep your total daily fat intake to less than 35% of your daily calorie intake. If you eat too much dark chocolate, you could experience stomach upset or diarrhea.
When choosing a bar of dark chocolate, be sure to select one with the highest cocoa content. The more cocoa, the fewer added sugars, and fats there will be. Also, low sugar dark chocolate is lower in calories and has a higher concentration of antioxidants than traditional dark chocolate. And dark chocolate with low sugar content has been shown to improve heart disease markers better than other types of chocolate. If you are going to buy milk chocolate or white chocolate, choose a bar with a higher cocoa content. Milk chocolate may have fewer calories than white chocolate but it still has more fat than dark chocolate and it contains far more sugar. When eating dark chocolate, it’s important to limit your portions to one or two squares per day. It’s easy to overeat when you are eating something as decadent and delicious as dark chocolate.
You could end up consuming more calories than you need if you are not careful. So, next time someone asks if you want some candy or cookies, say “no” and instead reach for a piece of dark chocolate