Let’s face it, it’s hard to say “no” to chocolate. Unless of course, you (oddly) hate it for some reason or chocolate simply makes you feel uncomfortable because of your severe acid reflux. But did you know that eating chocolate — particularly dark chocolate and not the milky or sugary varieties — actually contain numerous health benefits? Here are 8 Health Benefits Of Eating Dark Chocolate.
1) Helps Combat Free Radicals
Dark chocolate is particularly packed with antioxidants — a vital compound that helps to fight and neutralise free radicals. These antioxidant-rich dark chocolates are also able to protect our bodies from ageing as well as heart disease and cancer. But keep in mind to always pick dark chocolate with 70% or a higher amount of cocoa to enjoy the benefits of its antioxidant properties.
2) Helps Lower Cholesterol Levels
According to a meta-analysis published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, consuming dark chocolate helps lower LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels on a short-term basis. This is largely thanks to the cocoa butter found in dark chocolate, which contains oleic acid or monounsaturated fat commonly found in olive oil.
3) Helps Minimise Blood Pressure
Dark chocolate contains flavonols, a healthy compound responsible for increasing the blood levels of nitric oxide. This particular chemical helps to relax the arteries, which in turn lowers the amount of blood pressure.
4) Helps To Shield Your Skin From The Sun
If you spend most of your time outdoors, you will inevitably find yourself exposed to sunlight. While getting some sun gives you a vitamin D boost, too much of it can actually cause more harm than good. But thankfully, eating dark chocolate means that you are able to reap several benefits from its flavonols compound. Besides lowering blood pressure, it can also protect you against sun damage while increasing your skin’s overall hydration and density.
5) Helps Improve Vision
Apparently, bilberries and carrots are not the only ones with natural vision boosters. Fans of dark chocolate will be pleased that regular consumption may improve overall visual clarity. According to Medical News Today, a scientific study has shown that “adults who ate a bar of dark chocolate saw a significant increase in visual clarity and contrast sensitivity in the 2 hours after consumption”.
6) Helps Prevent Stroke
In 2010, a team of medical researchers from Johns Hopkins have discovered a compound known as epicatechin, which helps minimise the risk of stroke by protecting the brain cells from damage. The cocoa in dark chocolate is also able to protect you against hemorrhagic and ischemic strokes — two respective types of strokes caused by a broken blood vessel and lack of blood supply to the brain. Another study from Swedish researchers has further shown that women who frequently consume moderate amounts of dark chocolate have higher chances of stroke prevention by 20%.
7) Helps Boost Your Mood
Feeling all moody and grouchy? Try snacking on a bar of dark chocolate the next time you find yourself in such a situation. This is because dark chocolate happens to be a natural mood booster, thanks to its saturated fatty acids known as palmitic and stearic acids. Not to mention dark chocolate also promotes the release of endorphins and serotonin, two vital mood-enhancing chemicals that made you feel happy and positive.
8) Helps Improve Memory And Concentration
One word: flavanols. This particular compound helps stimulate blood flow to the brain and promote the overall functioning of neurons. This, in turn, benefits your brain health in terms of learning ability and cognitive function. Moreover, the caffeine in dark chocolate can boost your overall memory and concentration.