Health benefits of Dark Chocolate
More and more Studies now show that dark chocolate can improve health and lower the risk of heart disease. Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients that can positively affect your health. Made from the seed of cocoa tree, it is one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet. Eating a small amount of dark chocolate two or three times each week can help lower your blood pressure. It improves blood flow and may help prevent the formation of blood clots. Eating dark chocolate may also prevent arteriosclerosis. Dark chocolate is fully loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants. These include polyphenols, flavanols, catechins, among others.
One study showed that cocoa and dark chocolate contained more antioxidant activity, polyphenols and flavanols than other fruits which were subjected to tests. The flavanols in dark chocolate can stimulate the endothelium, the lining of arteries, to produce Nitric Oxide (NO), which is a gas. One of the main functions of NO is to send signals to the arteries to relax, which lowers resistance to blood flow and therefore reduces blood pressure. There are many studies showing that cocoa and dark chocolate can improve blood flow and lower blood pressure, but the effects are usually mild. Eating a small amount of dark chocolate two or three times each week can help lower blood pressure. Dark chocolate improves blood flow and may help prevent the formation of blood clots. The compounds in dark chocolate appear to be highly protective against the oxidation of LDL. In the long term, this should cause much less cholesterol to lodge in the arteries and we should see a lower risk of heart disease over the long term. Another study revealed that eating chocolate 2 or more times per week lowered the risk of having calcified plaque in the arteries by 32%.
Dark chocolate may also improve the function of the brain. Cocoa may also significantly improve cognitive function in elderly people with mental impairment. It also improves verbal fluency and several risk factors for disease. One study done on healthy volunteers showed that 5 days of consuming high-flavanol cocoa improved blood flow to the brain. Dark chocolate contains a chemical substance called theobromine, which has been shown to harden tooth enamel. That means that dark chocolate, unlike most other sweets it lowers your risk of getting cavities if you follow proper dental hygiene. Dark chocolate also contains several chemical compounds that have a positive effect on your mood and cognitive health. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine , the same chemical your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love. PEA encourages your brain to release endorphins, so eating dark chocolate will make you feel happier. Dark chocolate increases blood flow to the brain as well as to the heart, so it can help improve cognitive function. Dark chocolate also helps reduce your risk of stroke.