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8 Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Spoon University logo Spoon University 1/7/2019 Julia Golkin

Hold the phone, chocolate is healthy for you? We all love that sweet chocolatey goodness and while we all say we should stay clear of the sweets, we actually should be having a little chocolate in our daily lives.

Here are 8 benefits of dark chocolate. 

Chocolate dates back to the Mayans, actually believed it was the food of the gods and drank it as a bitter fermented beverage mixed with spices or wine. Now, you can't just pick up some chocolate and assume it will be healthy for you, only dark chocolate can improve your health because it is made with very little sugar and milk and is the most natural form of cocoa. Chocolate above 75% or 80% cocoa is the healthy stuff.

1. Right at the Heart

Benefits of Dark Chocolate coffee beans © Christin Urso Benefits of Dark Chocolate coffee beans

Cocoa is rich in plant chemicals called flavanols that may help to protect the heart. Dark chocolate contains up to 2-3 times more flavanol-rich cocoa solids than milk chocolate. Flavanols have been shown to support the production of nitric oxide in the endothelium, the inner cell lining of blood vessels, that helps to relax the blood vessels and improve blood flow, thereby lowering blood pressure

Other observational studies suggest a link between high cocoa or chocolate intake of 6 grams daily, 1-2 small squares, and a reduced risk of heart disease and mortality, possibly in part by reducing blood pressure and inflammation.

2. Reduce Diabetes 

a close up of a device: Benefits of Dark Chocolate chocolate coffee © Jennifer Cao Benefits of Dark Chocolate chocolate coffee

When you consume too much sugar, your body produces insulin to try to get the serum Dark chocolate can help to improve your sensitivity to insulin, making it easier for your body to control blood sugar levels. By preventing insulin resistance, you can effectively reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

Remember that diabetes is caused by excessively glucose (sugar in your bloodstream) under control. Long-term high insulin production can cause your body to become desensitized to the hormone, making it more difficult to keep glucose at manageable levels. Obesity also increases insulin resistance, increasing your risk of diabetes.

Hence, the wonder of chocolate! Thanks to the dark, chocolatey goodness, you can make the insulin more effective at controlling blood sugar levels.

3. It suppresses your appetite.

a close up of a plate covered with chocolate: Benefits of Dark Chocolate chocolate coffee © Christin Urso Benefits of Dark Chocolate chocolate coffee

More specifically, it can satisfy your food cravings and sweet tooth. A study found that dark chocolate is more filling than milk chocolate, and it can help to reduce your cravings for fatty, sweet, and salty foods. It doesn't matter if you're craving potato chips, tacos, or Jellybeans--a bit of chocolate will help to shut down your cravings. Best of all, a small piece of dark chocolate can help to keep you full between meals.It can help you eat less. According to neuroscientist Will Clower, a small portion of chocolate before your meal can cause your body to produce leptin, the hormone that sends signals to your brain that your body is satiated. Have a small piece of chocolate 20 minutes before your meal, and you'll eat less during mealtime, and you'll fill up more quickly. If you're struggling to stay on track with your diet, add some dark chocolate to your "allowed food list." It can make weight loss that little bit easier!

4. Great for your skin

a person posing for the camera: DIY Facials To Try At Home Today - Anti Stress Face Mask You Can Make Yourself - Face Masks That You Make Make With Baking Soda To Create Your Own … | Acne Gallery | Pinterest | Easy homemade face masks, Homemade face masks and Homemade facial mask © on Pinterest DIY Facials To Try At Home Today - Anti Stress Face Mask You Can Make Yourself - Face Masks That You Make Make With Baking Soda To Create Your Own … | Acne Gallery | Pinterest | Easy homemade face masks, Homemade face masks and Homemade facial mask

Contrary to what you may believe that chocolate makes you break out, One of the great things about cocoa beans is that they are packed with antioxidants--polyphenols, flavonoids, and others. Not even blueberries and Acai berries, two of the most antioxidant-rich foods around, had more antioxidant activity than raw, unprocessed cocoa beans. Pretty awesome, right? There are many benefits of these antioxidants, but one of the primary benefits is their ability to protect your skin. In one study, researchers found that high-flavonol chocolate offered the skin significant more protection from light than regular chocolate. The result is skin better-protected from the UV radiation in sunlight. Regular chocolate is highly processed, and this processing eliminates a lot of the antioxidants from the chocolate. Dark chocolate, however, does not go through the same amount of processing as regular chocolate, so it has a much higher antioxidant content. Thanks to these antioxidants, you can protect your skin from UV radiation, reduce your risk of melanoma, and improve its appearance!

5. Chocolate makes you Smarter

Get ready to be a genius: Dark chocolate makes you smarter © on Pinterest Get ready to be a genius: Dark chocolate makes you smarter

Want to be a genius? Chocolate may not turn you into an Einstein overnight, but it can certainly give your brain a boost! Improving circulation can actually benefit your brain power. Your brain, like all the other parts of your body, requires oxygen and nutrients to survive and thrive. Dark chocolate helps to increase circulation and produce more red blood cells, which will help your body to send more oxygen and nutrients to your brain. The result: better brain function. Chocolate contains small quantities caffeine and theobromine, two substances that help to reduce fatigue and enhance brain function.

6. Helps to fight Cholesterol 

a close up of a device: Pure Dark Chocolate Benefits And 21 other foods to help fight skin issues... | New year new challenge | Pinterest | Dark chocolate benefits and Chocolate benefits © on Pinterest Pure Dark Chocolate Benefits And 21 other foods to help fight skin issues... | New year new challenge | Pinterest | Dark chocolate benefits and Chocolate benefits

Cholesterol can be one of your enemies, it clogs u your arteries, reduces your blood flow, and can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. Low-density lipoproteins are the fat cells that cling to your arterial walls, harden, and restrict blood flow. Reducing LDL cholesterol is one of the best ways to reduce cardiovascular risk. High-density lipoproteins are actually good, as they help to eliminate the LDL cholesterol in your bloodstream. If your doctor is worried about your cholesterol levels, it's definitely time to add a bit of dark chocolate to your diet.

In pics: The 17 Best and Worst Dark Chocolates (Provided by Eat This, Not That!)


7.  Great for pregnant women 

Daily Chocolate consumption by pregnant women could have a positive effect on placenta and foetal growth and development by improving blood flow. ‪… | Pregnancy next time | Pinterest | Pregnancy © on Pinterest Daily Chocolate consumption by pregnant women could have a positive effect on placenta and foetal growth and development by improving blood flow. ‪… | Pregnancy next time | Pinterest | Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be a pretty stressful time, what with all the changes to your body, your routine, and your life. But never fear, chocolate is here! Women who ate chocolate during their pregnancy reported lower levels of stress and anxiety. The babies born to those women were not only more active, but they smiled and laughed more than the babies born to women who did not eat chocolate. The babies also exhibited less fear of the new situation.

Eat more chocolate, for your baby's sake! (As if you needed another reason to send someone out on a chocolate run…)

8. It just makes you feel good

The 12 Best © on Pinterest The 12 Best

You ever wonder why you have those rough days and chocolate always has your back? Caffeine/theobromine  These two nutrients not only improve cognitive function, but they can boost your mood and make you feel better.  Seretonin, the body's magical hormone. Chocolate stimulates the production of serotonin, the "feel-good" chemical that improves your emotional state and helps to deal with the moody blues. Chocolate gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy! The caffeine and theobromine in coffee stimulates the production of endorphins, helping to enhance your mood.  Phenylethylamine PEA is a chemical created by your brain when you "feel in love". Thanks to the PEA in chocolate, you get that same happy feeling with every bite.

a pile of food: Benefits of Dark Chocolate cinnamon cookie © Natalie Rodriguez Benefits of Dark Chocolate cinnamon cookie

So now there is no real reason to say no to chocolate. you've heard the saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away"? Well, new trend will be saying "some dark chocolate a day keeps the gloomies at bay."  Anything is perfectly fine in moderation and when eaten in small amounts or used in certain ways, the foods we think are bad for you can actually have great benefits in making us healthier and happier. So come to the dark side, we have chocolate and a lot of healthy living to do.

Watch: How to Make Dark Chocolate Avocado Cake (Provided by My Recipes)

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