If you’re tired of hearing that you should be eating more fruits and vegetables, here is some refreshing news: you should also be adding more dark chocolate to your diet! Dark chocolate is different from milk chocolate, which has little to no health benefits. Made from cocoa butter, it contains a higher level of cocoa with antioxidants such as polyphenols. This is why a square of dark chocolate is considered a “superfood” and an all-around great snack choice.
Before you bite into a piece of delicious dark chocolate, consider the following health benefits.
Reduce Free Radicals in the Body
Free radicals are compounds in the body that can cause certain diseases and cancers. Antioxidants are compounds that neutralize free radicals and stop them from doing damage. There are many types of antioxidants, including vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. This is why it’s important to eat foods that are high in antioxidants, as they introduce more free radical fighting power into the body. One of the best sources of flavonoids is dark chocolate.
Improve Heart Health
The main type of flavonoid found in dark chocolate is called flavonol. Flavonols have positive effects on the body, and two of them are lowering blood pressure and improving blood flow to the heart. In addition to this, flavonoids have been shown to reduce the risk for stroke and blood clots because they make it harder for the blood platelets to clot.
Raise Good Cholesterol
Many people have high cholesterol as they enter their older years. Fortunately, eating a piece of dark chocolate won’t contribute to raising your bad cholesterol. Instead, it can increase good cholesterol levels. Here’s why. Dark chocolate is made from cocoa butter, and in it, there is oleic acid. Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fat that is good for the heart.
Boost Cognitive Function
Some foods are known to boost memory, such as avocados, beets, blueberries and dark chocolate. Flavonoids in cocoa are associated with increased blood flow to the brain. The part of the brain that researchers look at is the cerebral gray matter, as having low blood flow to this area is linked to dementia and stroke.
If you love to have something sweet after dinner or in between meals, don’t hesitate to reach for a piece of dark chocolate. Not all chocolate is created equal, however. Health experts recommend eating small amounts of dark chocolate that contain at least 70 percent cocoa.