Craving something sweet but also wanting to enjoy a treat that will offer some health benefits? Enter dark chocolate! This rich, delicious snack has some wonderful healthy properties – and we’re not just talking about the antioxidants. Read on to learn more about why dark chocolate is good for you and how you can indulge without disrupting your healthy diet. Bon appétit!
The health benefits of dark chocolate.
Dark chocolate has become increasingly popular in recent years not only for its flavor but also for its numerous health benefits. Would you be surprised to learn that dark chocolate is full of nutrients? The antioxidants and minerals found in dark chocolate can help to improve cardiovascular health, reduce inflammation, and boost immunity. Furthermore, it may even enhance mental sharpness and reduce stress levels. And it’s tasty? It’s no wonder that dark chocolate is so popular!
Dark chocolate can help to lower blood pressure.
Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, which are plant substances known for their antioxidant properties. Antioxidants can help improve circulation. Dark chocolate also contains dietary nitrates, which are thought to help lower blood pressure and protect against heart disease. Studies have found that consuming dark chocolate regularly as part of a balanced diet may help to reduce systolic blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular health!
Dark chocolate can boost cognitive function.
Dark chocolate also contains compounds like flavanols which can improve cognitive function. Studies have found that dark chocolate stimulates a part of the brain responsible for memory and decision-making. On top of that, consuming dark chocolate has been linked to improved learning abilities and alertness, leading to quicker thinking with better accuracy. The antioxidants in dark chocolate boost overall brain health by protecting the cells from oxidative damage.
Dark Chocolate and the Microbiome
Recent studies have shown that consuming dark chocolate has a positive effect on the microbiome of the gut and leads to better overall gut health. It has been found that dark chocolate not only helps the diversity of gut microbiota but also increases the number of beneficial bacteria – allowing them to resist toxins, reduce inflammation, and even fight off diseases. In addition, dark chocolate has been linked to improved mood and cognitive function due to its ability to increase serotonin, dopamine, and endorphin levels in the body.
Dark chocolate has minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper, and manganese!
How to incorporate dark chocolate into your diet
When choosing dark chocolate, you should opt for the darkest variety available, as it will contain the most beneficial nutrients. Dark chocolate with at least 70% cacao is a great option.
And a little bit goes a long way! Sprinkle a little over oatmeal or yogurt, blend some into smoothies and shakes, bake with it, or even just eat a few squares after a meal. Dark chocolate satisfies your sweet tooth with only a square or two, so you won’t overfill yourself or experience those sugar highs and lows that often come with eating milk chocolate.
A note about safely selecting dark chocolate. A recent consumer reports article noted the detection of heavy metals in some brands of dark chocolate. Heavy metals contribute to a host of health issues, so it is prudent to select your chocolate carefully. Some of the safest options include brands such as Mast, Taza Chocolate, Ghirardelli with 86% cacao, Ghirardelli with 72% cacao, and Valrhona.
There are so many varieties of dark chocolate that are easy to find in your grocery store. Go enjoy this nutritious treat today!