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. Studies show that dark chocolate can improve your health and lower the risk of heart disease. This article looks at the benefits of dark chocolate that are supported by science.
Prevents heart disease
Among dark chocolate’s most researched benefit is its role in preventing heart disease. British researchers analyzed seven studies on chocolate and cardiovascular health involving more than 114,000 people in the United States, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, and Sweden and found that people who ate more chocolate significantly reduced their risk for heart disease. They concluded that people who ate the most chocolate weekly had a 37 per cent lower risk of any heart disease than those who ate the least amounts of dark chocolate.
It decreases stroke risk
If you eat two candy bars of dark chocolate per week, it lowers the risk of having a stroke by 20 per cent. However, more study is needed to determine the exact amount and types of flavonoid-rich chocolates that would be most help lessen stroke risk.
Raises good cholesterol
Dark chocolate is also being touted as a cholesterol-lowering superfood. It’s the cocoa butter that does the trick. Cocoa butter contains oleic acid, which is monounsaturated fat — the same fat you find in heart-healthy olive oil. It is believed that this monounsaturated fat can actually raise your good, cholesterol.
It improves vision
Dark chocolate may have something in common with carrots because it helps improve eyesight. It could be that the flavanols in dark chocolate, which improve blood flow to the brain, improve blood flow to the retina as well — and white chocolate doesn’t have nearly the same amount of flavanols as dark chocolate.
It’s a mood booster
Dark chocolate really can boost your mood. It’s the fatty acids that do the trick, and dark chocolate contains two saturated fatty acids — palmitic and stearic acids — in addition to its health-boosting flavonoids. The theory is that chocolate stimulates the neural activity in the regions of the brain associated with pleasure and reward.
By Damilola Faustino
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