Sweet Health: The Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Posted on Jan 29, 2018

If you’re looking for a snack that tastes great and is good for you, too, then consider dark chocolate. Of course, everything in moderation… but with dark chocolate, at least you’ll know there are several health benefits, making it a worthy indulgence.

Considering the average American eats 12 pounds of chocolate per year, and you’re probably one of these people, you should make the majority of those 12 pounds chocolate of the dark variety. Here’s why…

First, dark chocolate is known for its free radical fighting ability thanks to its antioxidants. Imagine there’s a war going on inside your body– free radicals want to damage your innards while antioxidants neutralize those free radicals, preventing problems. Dark chocolate has two powerful antioxidants– flavonoids and polyphenols– and that’s a very good thing.

Some people consider dark chocolate as a cancer-fighting food. That’s because of the aforementioned flavonoids.

Also, the main type of flavonoids found in dark chocolate are flavanols– these have a good effect on your heart, lowering blood pressure while improving blood flow to both the heart and brain. Furthermore, flavanols can reduce your risk of blood clotting and strokes.

Are you looking to boost your focus and memory? Well, eating dark chocolate can help do that, thanks to flavanols. And polyphenols help lower your blood pressure and decrease your resting blood sugar.

If you’re worried about cholesterol, know this: dark chocolate isn’t too good and it isn’t too bad– it’s a nice neutral when it comes to your overall cholesterol profile. Some studies suggest eating dark chocolate regularly actually helps increase your good cholesterol and reduce your bad cholesterol.

When you’re at the store looking over the chocolate section, it’s best to buy dark chocolate with a cacao content of at least 70 percent. Why? Well, at that rate the chocolate has the most antioxidants and the least amount of sugar. If it says “fair trade” or “organic” cocoa/cacao beans on the label, that’s ideal. Cocoa butter is a good additional ingredient, while palm/hydrogenated/coconut oil(s) ingredients are best avoided.

Finally, look for dark chocolate that’s just minimally processed plain dark chocolate– when marshmallows and caramel are added, for instance, that can mitigate the benefits of eating it.

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