Six health benefits of dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is so much more than just a sweet treat. Loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, good quality dark chocolate can have a positive effect on your health. Made from the beans or seeds found in cocoa pods, the fruit of a cocoa tree, numerous studies have shown that when eaten in moderation, dark chocolate can do wonders for your body. Read on and discover the many benefits of including dark chocolate in your diet.

It's nutritious

Dark chocolate that has a high cocoa content contains a range of minerals, making it quite nutritious. It is rich in fibre, magnesium, iron, copper and potassium, to name but a few, each of which help to keep the body strong and healthy in their own way. Dark chocolate also contains healthy fats in the form of cocoa butter, the fatty part of cocoa beans. This can be beneficial to your heart and cholesterol levels.

It's an excellent source of antioxidants and can reduce the risk of heart disease

Antioxidants are needed in the body as they block the activity of other potentially dangerous chemicals known as free radicals. These free radicals can cause damage to cells in the body, some of which can lead to the development of serious illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease. Dark chocolate contains organic compounds that are biologically active and can function as antioxidants, namely polyphenols and flavonoids.

It can do good things for your skin

Research shows that the flavonoids found in chocolate are able to absorb UV light that is harmful to your skin in excess. They are also said to improve blood flow to the skin, as well as increase hydration levels.

It can improve your mood

There's a legitimate reason to why you feel happy after you have eaten chocolate: it can stimulate the production of endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are the chemicals responsible for feelings of joy and pleasure. Eating chocolate also releases serotonin, the chemical in the brain that acts as an anti-depressant.

It may increase blood flow and lower blood pressure

These self-same flavonoids can also stimulate the endothelium (lining of the arteries) to produce nitric oxide, which sends a signal to the arteries to relax. As a result, the resistance to blood flow is lowered, which in turn increases the flow and helps to lower the blood pressure.

Increased blood flow has a positive effect on brain function

Because blood flow is increased, this means that blood flow to the brain is improved, increasing cognitive function. You may feel more alert as a result.

It's even good for teeth

Dark chocolate contains theobromine which helps to harden tooth enamel, resulting in stronger teeth. In conjunction with maintaining proper dental hygiene, theobromine can lower the risk of developing cavities.

Dark chocolate, eaten in moderation, can offer many health benefits, but itís important to remember the quality of the chocolate is key. It is recommended that you should choose dark chocolate that contains a minimum of 70% cocoa to get the full benefits.

Credits:
http://authoritynutrition.com
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