Chocolate! Dear old chocolate. So many things have been said about chocolate. Many people attribute it to the cause of diabetes and other weight related issues. Because of its taste, many others think it is very unhealthy and harmful to the health. But is it really? Are all what we read about dark chocolate true?
Keep reading to find out.
Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients that can positively affect your health. Made from the seed of the cocoa tree, it is one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet.
It is important to note that 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.
Here are a few benefits you should note:
1. It is good for the heart
Flavonoids in chocolate can help your veins and arteries to stay supple. It has been said that people who eat chocolate had their risk of getting a heart attack was reduced by about 37% while the chances of getting a stroke were 29% less when they had a higher consumption of chocolate.
2. It helps to improve your mood
Researchers who targeted the cocoa polyphenols found that it had a beneficial effect on the mood of the participants who were calmer and happier after digestion.
3. It helps to lower cholesterol levels
It has been discovered that when people were given bars of dark chocolate with plant sterols and flavanols, they were getting lower scores on their cholesterol levels. In essence, chocolate is ridiculously good for lowering cholesterol.
4. It improves your ability to focus
Chocolate boosts blood circulation to the brain, which can improve your ability to focus. Taking a small number of cocoa flavanols for five days led to better blood flow to the brain in healthy adults who were performing cognitive tasks.
5. It helps improve your skin
Eating antioxidant-rich chocolate leads to smoother skin, less dried out, and more resistant to sunburn. Cocoa boosts blood circulation to the fine capillaries in the top layer of skin, vessels that are better equipped to draw oxygen and nutrients that protect skin against dehydration and burns.
6. It protects your teeth
It’s the sugar in chocolate candies that rots your teeth—cocoa actually protects them. Cocoa bean husks contain antibacterial compounds that reduce the formation of plaque and biofilms where cavity-causing bacteria can thrive. The higher the percentage of cacao the better, because chocolate with lower cacao percentages also has more sugar, which does promote decay.
7. It improves vision
Because of chocolate’s ability to improve blood flow, in particular to the brain, researchers have proved that chocolate may also increase blood flow to the retina, thereby giving the vision a boost.
8. It helps with asthma
If you or someone you know suffers from asthma, chocolate might just help. Dark chocolate contains three natural components: caffeine, theobromine and theophylline, all of which work together to halt bronchospasms and open constricted bronchial passages. These ingredients also enable dark chocolate to work as a cough suppressant.
9. It can serve as an aphrodisiac
Cacao has long been used as an aphrodisiac due to the compounds it contains that send a “soothing” message to the brain. Dark chocolate helps one de-stress, relax, and produce higher levels of energy. Maybe the gift of chocolates on Valentine’s Day is more than mere custom but actually to help put the lady in the right mood.