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10 Mind-Blowing Reasons To Eat Dark Chocolate Every Single Day
Although you might not need 10 reasons to eat dark chocolate, you should know about all the health benefits it has to offer. That way, the next time someone tries to tell you that you are going off your diet or that you are sabotaging your healthy eating regime, you can whip out a few of these points from memory and set them straight.
Of course, this doesn’t give you permission to pig out on dark chocolate. Just 3.5 ounces still has a whopping 600 calories! Limit yourself to one ounce or less each day. That’s all you really need to get all the healthy benefits this delish delight anyway.
You should also take note that a great deal of the dark chocolate on the market is … well, to be honest, it’s crap. Look for the high quality, organic, dark chocolate that has a minimum of 70 percent cocoa. A higher content of cocoa is even better for you, but don’t accept anything less than 70 percent cocoa.
Ever notice how chocolate seems to make everyone happy? Why not indulge in some happiness every day? We have 10 good reasons you should.
1. Soups Up Brain Power
Seriously! The University of Nottingham conducted studies showing that dark chocolate improved the flow of blood to the brain for as long as three hours after eating it. This improves our short term memory and level of alertness. The cocoa in dark chocolate also improves our concentration levels, memory recall, and response time. If you have an upcoming test or exam, you should definitely consider eating some dark chocolate an hour or two before your test!
2. More Nutritious Than You Think
High quality, dark chocolate with a cocoa content of at least 70 percent is a decadent treat, to be sure, but it is much more nutritious than many people believe. A typical 100-gram bar has an impressive 11 grams of fiber, 67 percent of our RDA of iron, 89 percent of our RDA of copper, 98 percent of our RDA for manganese, and 58 percent of our RDA of magnesium. It also contains good amounts of selenium, zinc, potassium, and phosphorus.
3. Natural Stress Relief
Dark chocolate stimulates the body to increase a neurotransmitter called serotonin, which acts as a type of antidepressant, making us feel happy and less stressed. Scientists in Switzerland did a study finding that eating just 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate each day over a two-week period greatly reduced the amount of a common stress hormone called cortisol. This study used a dark chocolate with an 85 percent level of cocoa, so if you want superior stress relief, be sure the chocolate you are eating has at least this level of cocoa.
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4. Astounding Source Of Antioxidants
Dark chocolate is a virtual treasure chest of organic compounds that work as antioxidants in the body, including flavonols, polyphenols, and catechins — just to name a few. In fact, one study found that dark chocolate had more antioxidant activity than any fruit tested, including Acai berries or even blueberries. Of course, chocolate is a poor substitute for fresh fruit, but when added to a healthy diet, this food has antioxidant power, which will only enhance your healthy diet.
5. Healthy Fat Treat
Dark chocolate contains some sugar, but not nearly as much as milk chocolate. The fatty acid profile of this delicious type of chocolate is excellent! It contains mostly monounsaturated, saturated and a very small amount of polyunsaturated fat. Although it can’t compare to butter or an avocado, but it sure beats the heck out of a trans-fat filled cupcake for an after-dinner snack.
6. Improves Circulation And Lowers Blood Pressure
There have been numerous studies showing that dark chocolate improves blood circulation and lowers blood pressure. Although its effect on lowering blood pressure is small, it certainly beats any increase in blood pressure! So although eating dark chocolate will probably not be enough to get you off your hypertension medication, it’s nice to know that you can enjoy something sweet and not worry about it increasing your blood pressure.
7. Sun Protection
Dark chocolate contains bioactive compounds that can protect you from sun damage, increase your skin density, protect your skin from becoming dehydrated, and improve blood flow to the skin. One study found that subjects who consumed dark chocolate over a period of 12 weeks had much lower levels of sun-induced skin damage than those who did not indulge. If you are planning on any type of vacation that includes time in the sun, you would be wise to start adding dark chocolate to your diet a few months before you hit the beach.
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8. Does Good Things To Your Cholesterol
Dark chocolate can increase your levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and lower the bad (LDL) cholesterol levels, according to studies. In addition, dark chocolate decreased oxidized LDL cholesterol levels, which means that this bad cholesterol is not as likely to damage other tissues in the body. Lower cholesterol levels lead us to our next point.
9. Lowers Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease
Since dark chocolate lowers our bad cholesterol levels and increases the good cholesterol, this means it can offer us protection from heart disease. This has been shown to be true in several studies. One involved 470 elderly men who were followed over a 15-year period. Those who consumed dark chocolate were found to have an incredible 50 percent lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease than those who did not indulge. Another study showed that people who consumed dark chocolate at least five times each week lowered their risk of cardiovascular disease by 57 percent!
No matter how you slice it, dark chocolate is good for your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and heart.
10. Guilt-Free Food
Eating dark chocolate is a treat that you can absolutely enjoy without feeling guilty. As we mentioned, this treat is good for you and has more than enough health benefits to justify eating a square or two every day. So enjoy your special treat and smile while you do it. Oh, and pass a piece our way, would you?