Having a hard time breaking up with chocolate? Good news – all you need to do is replace milk chocolate with dark chocolate and you might also reap some amazing health benefits besides satisfying your sweet tooth. Multiple studies have shown that dark chocolate is one of the healthiest sweet snacks, packing a bunch of antioxidants, flavanols, vitamins, minerals and soluble fiber.
If you haven’t been a big fan of this chocolate variety so far, consider giving it another shot – it’s been scientifically proven that dark chocolate will not only provide you with a instant mood lift, but keep your brain sharp and protect the health of your heart as well.
Dark chocolates with higher amount of cocoa content are the best choices when it comes to nutrient density.
They contain a good amount of healthy fats, iron, magnesium, copper and fiber, together with a small amount of sugar. To get the most of this delicious product, opt for organic brands of dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content.
Here are the five greatest reasons why you should consume moderate amounts of dark chocolate on a daily basis:
1. Dark chocolate can help you lose weight
This may come as a surprise, but eating dark chocolate more often can actually enhance fat loss, thanks to the abundance of quality fats, fiber and protein it contains. A recent study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine found a significant correlation between frequent dark chocolate consumption and lower BMI. In addition, a study from the Netherlands has found that by its influence on hormonal activity, this treat can significantly reduce the appetite.
2. Dark chocolate enhances cognitive performance
One of dark chocolate’s key components, called flavanols, have an ability to dilate your blood vessels, thereby allowing more blood and oxygen to reach the brain. This contributes to a temporary improvement in cognitive functioning and levels of energy, even in elderly people with cognitive impairments. Also, this increased blood flow is beneficial for the eyesight as well – studies have found that frequent dark chocolate consumption is associated with enhanced visual performance.
3. Dark chocolate reduces the effects of inflammation and aging
When the friendly bacteria found in your gut metabolize dark chocolate, their fermented final product has potent anti-inflammatory properties. Besides that, dark chocolate is exceptionally rich in antioxidants, which are the best tool for reversing the effects of aging known to man, as well as preventing cancer and reducing inflammation. Actually, one study found that it contains more antioxidants, polyphenols and flavanols than blueberries and acai berries.
4. Dark chocolate reduces anxiety
Are constant emotional turmoils taking their toll on your mood? Eat more dark chocolate to reduce the feelings of panic. Chronic stress causes your levels of cortisol to stay elevated, keeping your body alert and making it more prone to anxiety, depression and heart disease in the long run. There are many ways to prevent this from happening, and adding dark chocolate to your diet is a rather tasty way to start. Multiple studies have shown that some of the compounds of cocoa powder can reduce the levels of cortisol and have a calming effect on the psyche.
5. Dark chocolate protects your heart
A few bites of dark chocolate every day can significantly improve your blood flow and lower your blood pressure levels, thanks to the bioactive compounds found in cocoa.
In addition, thanks to the polyphenols found in cocoa powder, consuming dark chocolate will increase your levels of good cholesterol (HDL). HDL is very powerful at decreasing the negative effects of bad cholesterol (LDL) to the cardiovascular system, thereby maintaining the health of your heart and blood vessels. Studies have shown that in the long term, elevated levels of HDL are able to significantly lower the risk of heart disease.
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In conclusion, keep your consumption moderate and don’t forget that not all chocolate is created equal – the dark varieties have the most to offer to your health and weight loss goals. Optimize your diet with a few bars of dark chocolate with high amounts of cocoa content on a weekly basis and reap some impressive health benefits!