5 Surprising Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Ask anybody what foods you need to eat to have a healthy body and lifestyle and you probably won’t hear chocolate. After all, chocolate is the type of stuff your parents only gave you when you were a good kid and deserved a treat. It’s not exactly the type of thing a dietitian would recommend.

Or is it? Recent studies have shown that there are actually a handful of reasons why you should add chocolate—specifically dark chocolate—into your diet. Dark chocolate is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that have a ton of benefits for the body.

Just remember to limit your intake of dark chocolate to 1 oz (28 g) per week as many dark chocolates do still have a ton of unnecessary sugars.

With that said, if you’ve always wanted a reason or five to eat more dark chocolate without the guilt, then this article is just the thing for you!

 

1. It’s Good for the Heart and Blood

Research into dark chocolate has discovered that it’s extremely rich in flavonoids and other health benefits. This is a chemical that increases nitric oxide in the body, which then helps your blood vessels relax and lowers your blood pressure. According to the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, eating dark chocolate once a week can help reduce the risk of blocked arteries by as much as 8%! It is also associated with a 1% decrease in coronary artery disease according to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Chocolate is food for the heart both emotionally and physically!

 

2. It’s Good for the Brain

There’s a scientific reason a lot of us crave chocolate when we’re feeling stressed or sad! Apparently, the experience of eating chocolate—biting into that sugary goodness and feeling it melt in your mouth makes you happy. This releases a feel-good chemical in the brain called dopamine that vastly improves our mood. It also makes you less stressed. So, the next time you crave a chocolate bar after a tough day at work, don’t feel bad. The benefits of dark chocolate make it worth it!

Why do you think people often ate chocolate to ward off dementor attacks in the wizarding world of Harry Potter, after all?

Additionally, chocolate is good for your brain’s overall function. Regular intake of dark chocolate improves your brain’s neuroplasticity which is responsible for forming neural connections, improving memory, boosting cognitive function, and lightening your mood.

 

3. It’s Good for Your Blood Sugar Levels

It might seem counterproductive to fight diabetes with dark chocolate, but trust the scientists—it works! According to their studies, eating dark chocolate regularly can help your body’s ability to metabolize glucose. Insulin resistance, which is caused by the body’s inability to process glucose, eventually leads to diabetes, so dark chocolate can actually aid you with regularizing your blood sugar levels!

In addition to that, the flavonoids in chocolate are said to reduce oxidative stress. Defined as the imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals in the body, it is the primary cause of insulin resistance. This suggests that if we get rid of oxidative stress with dark chocolate, we can get rid of insulin resistance altogether and thereby diabetes.

 

4. It’s Good for Your Digestive System

Certain studies have shown that eating dark chocolate boosts your metabolism and makes you feel full much quicker. This sends signals to your brain that encourage you to stop eating, thus curbing your appetite and making you eat lesser than usual. For those wanting to lose weight, eating dark chocolate may help with it! Again, just make sure that you’re not eating too much chocolate as it can easily counter any attempts at diet and exercise.

Dark chocolate is also apparently a prebiotic. Prebiotics are a type of food that help feed the good bacteria in your gut, allowing it to absorb more nutrients into your bloodstream. This helps you make the most out of the food you eat and also smoothens your digestive process.

 

5. It’s Good for Your Skin

Did you know that dark chocolate is packed with a ton of minerals like copper, iron, manganese, and magnesium? Not only do they do amazing things for your body, but they also do amazing things for your skin!

Copper, for example, is a popular ingredient in the skincare world. It’s said to preserve your youthful glow by boosting elastin and collagen production. It also helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Who needs a time machine when you can just incorporate copper into your skincare routine?

Iron, on the other hand, is an essential element for blood. It boosts the production of hemoglobin, thereby promoting faster wound healing and reducing bruises and blemishes on your skin.