If you have read our posts regularly, you probably know that dark chocolate is one of our favorite health foods. Today we present 10 reasons to eat a small amount every day, for pleasure and as a way to improve your health.
Note we are talking about DARK chocolate, which means it has 70% or more cocoa content. This type has health benefits, but if you consume the common bar, which has much less cocoa content, you are basically eating candy. At a 70% cocoa level or more, the health benefits are much greater than any negative aspects.
The major issue eating only 70% or greater is to be careful with how much you eat every day, since chocolate is a high calorie food. If you eat about 25 grams (1/4 of a standard 100 mg. bar), you are getting about 130 calories. Not a lot, but probably for most people, probably a good daily “dose” without adding too many calories.
The main reason dark chocolate is healthy is that cocoa is loaded with flavonoids, chemicals are potent antioxidants. Here, adapted from the Keck Medical Center (University of Southern California), and Harvard Medical School, is a list of the main health benefits of eating dark chocolate:
1) Chocolate makes you feel better
It contains phenylethylamine, a chemical your brain creates when you are falling in love. This chemical then encourages release of endorphins, which make you feel good.
2) Helps your brain
Studies have shown that cocoa improves your brain’s blood flow, and that it lowers the risk of cognitive decline in dementia.
3) Good for the heart
Chocolate helps keep your arteries flexible and discourages white blood cells from sticking to your arterial walls. All this decreases the plaque build-up of atherosclerosis.
4) Lowers your risk of stroke and diabetes
According to the British Journal of Nutrition, eating a small amount of the dark variety every day decreases your risk of stroke. Other studies show it decreases the diabetes risk as well, by keeping your tissues sensitive to insulin, as they should be.
5) Has lots of minerals and fiber
Besides all the antioxidants, chocolate has lots of fiber, as well as beneficial minerals such as potassium, zinc, and selenium. It also has a significant iron content.
6) Improves your blood lipid profile
Various studies have shown dark chocolate helps increase your HDL (good) cholesterol, while decreasing your LDL (bad) cholesterol.
7) Good for your skin
Despite what is commonly thought, research has shown that for most people, chocolate does not increase the risk of skin problems. In fact, the flavonoids in chocolate help prevent free radical damage in the skin from UV radiation.
8) Less stress for pregnant women
A recent study from Finland showed that pregnant women who ate chocolate daily had less stress, and that the babies they delivered actually smiled more than other babies.
9) It may help your workouts
As we described here, eating 40 grams daily for two weeks improved aerobic performance by 10 to 15%.
10) Kids won’t steal it
Many people who keep chocolate have to worry about other people, especially children, “stealing” your chocolate. Most kids—and most people—don’t like the taste of dark chocolate, so it’s less likely your supply will “shrink”.
Hopefully this post has taken away any guilt your might have about eating this healthy delicacy. As long as it’s at least 70% cocoa, it’s good for you if don’t eat too much every day. Let’s face it, broccoli is a health food too, but eating chocolate us a lot more pleasurable. And that is great—making good health pleasurable is one of our goals at ProcuraMed.
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Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)