If you’ve been looking into getting healthy, you’ve no doubt heard about dark chocolate being a delicious – and nutritious – snack. But what sort of impact does it have on your body? How does it improve your health? Here are 4 key ways that dark chocolate can help you get your health in line!
It’s no secret that cocoa beans are related to coffee beans, and like its caffeine-filled cousin, it does contain some caffeine and theobromine. These are known as stimulants and can help with short-term brain function.
But it’s dark chocolate isn’t just good for a short-term fix. Preliminary studies have found that cocoa can help to vastly improve elderly people’s cognitive function – even if they have mental impairments.
Another study showed that out of a study of only healthy volunteers, everyone’ had better blood flow to their brains after eating cocoa with high levels of flavanol every day after only 5 days.
Long-term studies have shown that dark chocolate, when consumed regularly and over a long period of time, reduces cholesterol and heart disease.
One study showed that calcified plaque in arteries was reduced by a whopping 32% just by eating dark chocolate a minimum of twice per week. (Anything less didn’t seem to have an effect.)
Another study even showed that out of nearly 500 elderly men, 50% of them had drastically reduced risk of heart disease-related death. This was conducted over a 15-year time frame.
Not only do the flavanols in this tasty treat improve blood flow, but it can also lower your blood pressure. This is because of the effects cocoa and dark chocolate have on your body’s nitric oxide production. With an upped production, there is less resistance to blood flow, which helps to lower blood pressure.
While there are a lot of positive studies out there about dark chocolate’s effects on blood pressure, not everyone saw huge results or improvements.
Dark chocolate has bioactive compounds. It’s been suggested that these compounds can be fantastic for your skin.
But it won’t just leave you looking great; The flavonols can increase hydration and density in your skin, improve your body’s blood flow to the skin, and help to protect your skin from sun damage.
And if you’re planning on spending a lot of time outdoors, pile in the dark chocolate. A small-scale study showed that eating dark chocolate for weeks before spending excessive time in the sun, it took twice the time to get sunburned!
There are plenty of great ways to enjoy dark chocolate. Finding a healthy source of dark chocolate – even if it means making it yourself – is important. Look for dark chocolate bars (like 100% pure baking cocoa bars) that you can add your own twist to (dates and nuts are great with this) or 75%+ dark chocolate bars with healthy add-ins like acacia or goji berries.