The Hidden Benefits of Dark Chocolate
by Guest Blogger: Mark
(London, ON, Canada)
THE HIDDEN BENEFITS OF DARK CHOCOLATE
You may be surprised to hear that dark chocolate contains more antioxidants than blueberries.
A hidden benefit of dark chocolate is that is loaded with organic compounds. These compounds are biologically active, and function as antioxidants. Several of these include: polyphenols, flavanols, and catechins.
Dark chocolate has a wide variety of powerful antioxidants--way more than most other foods.
Improves Brain Function
Dark chocolate may also significantly improve cognitive function. This hidden benefit may have a positive effect on verbal fluency, and several risk factors for disease.
Dark chocolate also contains stimulant substances like caffeine and theobromine. Studies suggest that these substances may improve brain function, in the short term.
Another hidden benefit of dark chocolate, is its contribution to a healthy heart.
Evidence suggests that eating dark chocolate several times a week, may lower the risk of having calcified plaque in the arteries by 32%. Additional research indicates that dark chocolate consumed 5+ times per week, could lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by 57%.
The frequent consumption of small quantities of dark chocolate is linked to lower BMI.
Blood Flow and Blood Pressure
Dark chocolate has been linked to increased blood flow, and a reduction in blood pressure
The flavanols in dark chocolate can stimulate the endothelium. This stimulates the lining of arteries, to produce nitric oxide. An advantage of nitric oxide is that it sends signals to relax arteries, lowering resistance to blood flow, and therefore reducing blood pressure.
Protective Qualities of Dark Chocolate
The antioxidants found in dark chocolate make their way it into the bloodstream, protecting lipoproteins against oxidative damage. Dark chocolate may also reduce insulin resistance, which is another common risk factor for many diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
A little known benefit of flavonols (found in dark chocolate) is that it can protect against sun-induced skin damage, improve blood flow to the skin, and increase skin density.
Studies reveal that the flavanols from dark chocolate, are especially helpful in controlling blood flow, and providing skin protection.
Some scientific studies suggest that dark chocolate may help keep your brain sharp, your heart healthy, and your skin less damaged from the sun’s harmful rays.
What is your favourite dark chocolate dessert? Please share.