Seven Reasons to Eat Dark Chocolate Every Day
Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, has been the subject of many scientific studies, and the news for chocolate lovers is simply delicious. To get the most benefit from adding chocolate to your diet, however, make sure to choose chocolate that boasts at least 70 percent cacao. Cacao is more commonly known as cocoa, which is simply cacao that has been roasted and ground.
The goodness of chocolate comes from its cacao concentration. This ingredient contains as many as 300 compounds that provide extreme health benefits, including polyphenols, flavonoids, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fat. Here are just a few benefits you can expect when you regularly consume small amounts of high quality dark chocolate each day.
- Weight loss. Yes, you can expect weight loss according to researchers at the University of Copenhagen. These researchers discovered that dark chocolate imparts feelings of fullness. In addition, dark chocolate seems to squash cravings for sweets, fatty foods, and salt.
- Improved insulin sensitivity. In addition to being good for your waistline, dark chocolate actually improves insulin sensitivity. Insulin resistance leads to diabetes and metabolic syndrome, but insulin sensitivity leads to a healthy endocrine system and a healthy weight. Some studies even indicate that consuming cacao can prevent diabetes.
- Happiness. Similar to exercising, eating dark chocolate raises endorphins, which, in turn, reduce stress. This release of endorphins may be due to dark chocolate’s phenylethylamine (PEA) content. PEA is a brain chemical that is associated with the feeling of falling in love. In addition to PEA, cacao also contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid that is used to make serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood. In other words, cacao makes you feel happy. It’s an antidepressant.
- Happy infants. Pregnant women who ate dark chocolate gave birth to happier babies. This phenomenon is thought to be related to cacao’s PEA content. Of course, happier babies lead to happier, less stressed moms, dads, and siblings.
- Lower blood pressure. Dark chocolate is loaded with flavonoids, making it a heart healthy food. Those who consume dark chocolate have lower blood pressure as well as improved blood flow. In addition, eating dark chocolate reduces the risk of blood clots.
- Lower risk of stroke. Dark chocolate’s heart healthy benefits impact more than the circulatory system. Improved blood flow to the brain leads to a decreased risk of stroke.
- Protection against cancer. Cacao is full of polyphenol antioxidants. In fact, when tallying polyphenols, cacao trumps the other so-called “super foods,” such as blueberries, acai berries, and pomegranates. Polyphenol antioxidants protect the body from free radicals. This protection slows the aging process and even protects the body from cancer and heart disease.
There really is no reason to be afraid of the dark. Dark chocolate can be a healthy addition to almost anyone’s diet. Just make sure that you choose chocolate that has plenty of the super-nutrient, cacao. To enjoy the greatest benefits of a little chocolate, choose bars that have at least 70 percent cacao. It has never been easier to eat healthy foods.