We are all guilty of indulging in chocolates because it’s such a sinful treat… but not if we trade it for Dark Chocolates. Yes, the ones with 70-85% cocoa – the higher the cocoa content, the healthier it is (mostly because the higher the percentage of cocoa, the lower the percentage of sugar*). Made from the seed of the cocoa tree, this treat is loaded with minerals and antioxidants that can actually improve our health.
According to studies, there are 5 proven benefits from Dark Chocolate (consumed in moderation):
1) Very Nutritious
Quality dark chocolates contain Fiber, Iron, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese, Potassium, Phosphorus, Zinc and Selenium which help in keeping our bodies healthy.
2) Good Source of Antioxidants
Dark Chocolate is loaded with antioxidants like polyphenols, flavanols and catechins. In fact, one study showed that cocoa contains more antioxidant properties than other fruits such as blueberries and Acai berries.
3) Lowers the Risk for Cardiovascular Diseases
The flavanols found in dark chocolate stimulate the lining of the arteries to produce Nitric Oxide. This gas lets the arteries relax which lowers resistance to blood flow and therefore, regulates the blood pressure. It also has properties that are protective against LDL oxidation which means that there will be less cholesterol lodging into the arteries.
4) Protects the Skin
Flavanols also help protect the skin from sun damage and keeps it supple and hydrated. Because of this, Chocolate Face Masks are actually used in Beauty Regimens.
5) Improves Mood
Another benefit that we can get from Dark Chocolate is its mood-boosting properties. It stimulates the production of endorphins in the brain which bring on feelings of pleasure. It also contains serotonin, which is an anti-depressant.
* You can also get sugar-free chocolate, which is generally healthier. Just be aware that some “sugar alcohols,” such as maltitol, can cause digestion problems if you eat more than a small amount.