How Sweet It Is! The Benefits of Eating Dark Chocolate

Author: Shannon Miller Lifestyle

This might just make your day! It is okay to eat chocolate….dark chocolate. Yes, that’s right eating small amounts of dark chocolate can be good for you.

A growing number of studies show that chocolate, especially antioxidant-rich dark chocolate, has health benefits that put it squarely on the latest list of super-foods.Studies show that the darker the chocolate, the better. Eat only less-processed chocolate that contains at least 65 percent cacao, recommends Joy DuBost, PhD, RD, an American Dietetic Association spokeswoman.

The daily dose of antioxidants in dark chocolate doesn’t give you license to indulge in a dessert free-for-all — dark chocolate is still loaded with fat and calories

If you consume a max of 1 to 2 ounces a day, research says you’ll reap these 9 benefits.

  1. Chocolate fights free radicals-“When you have too many free radicals in your body, they start to attack your cells, and that can lead, over time, to low-grade inflammation and to some diseases — cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s,” DuBost says.
  2. Prevention of Heart Disease-Researchers concluded that people who ate the most chocolate weekly had a 37 percent lower risk of any heart disease than those who ate the least amounts of dark chocolate.
  3. Decrease in Stroke Risk-British researchers also found that people who ate more chocolate were 30 percent less likely to have a stroke. However, researchers added that more study is needed to determine the exact amount and types of flavonoid-rich chocolates that would be most help lessen stroke risk.
  4. Increase in Good Cholesterol-Dark chocolate is also being touted as a cholesterol-lowering superfood. It’s the cocoa butter that does the trick, DuBost explains.
  5. Lower Blood Pressure-A widespread analysis of numerous studies on the topic conducted by Australian researchers found limited but noticeable blood pressure benefits from eating the superfood.
  6. Improve Vision-It could be that the flavanols in dark chocolate, which improve blood flow to the brain, improve blood flow to the retina as well.
  7. Mood Booster-Some research supports the idea that 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.
  8. May help in some cancer prevention-Evidence that dark chocolate may play a role in cancer prevention is limited but growing.Of the many flavonoids in chocolate, two in particular, epicatechin and quercetin, are believed to be responsible for the cancer-fighting properties.

9. Help you live longer?-A Harvard University study found that one or two doses of dark chocolate per week         could even help you live longer. In the study, researchers compared men who ate chocolate with those who        didn’t and found that the former group lived one year.

As with everything you consume, dark chocolate should be eaten in moderation as suggested above. At least now you can enjoy it and that you are actually receiving some healthy benefits from it.  

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