7 Amazing Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate That Might Surprise You
We all know dark chocolate is delicious. We love it in all its forms - kisses, bars, ice cream. Good news - dark chocolate is also healthy.
Dark chocolate is packed full of antioxidants and flavanols which contribute to its many beneficial health benefits. Here are 7 health benefits of dark chocolate:
1. It can protect the skin.
Besides sunscreen, dark chocolate is also effective in protecting your skin against harmful UV rays. Flavonols found in dark chocolate can protect the skin against sun damage.
- Bye wrinkles!
Flavanols are antioxidants that help your skin protect itself from UV damage.
- Healthy & Dewy Skin
Flavanols also increase blood flow, making the skin glow and stress-free.
- Sun Spots No More
Flavanols fight free radicals that have long been believed to be a risk factor for many chronic diseases.
2. It lowers blood pressure.
Cocoa increases production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a gas responsible for acting on small receptors in our blood vessels which prompt our blood vessels to dilate. This process lowers blood pressure.
High blood pressure is associated with heart diseases including heart failure, atherosclerosis, and atrial fibrillation.
3. It reduces inflammation.
With the help of your gut bacteria, dark chocolate turns into an anti-inflammatory compound that is beneficial to your health.
After eating dark chocolate, "good" gut microbes feasts on it. This process then will lead to fermentation of the dark chocolate - making it into anti-inflammatory compounds which are good for the heart.
This lessens the inflammation within cardiovascular system and reducing the risk of stroke.
4. It raises good cholesterol.
If you have elevated total cholesterol with increased LDL cholesterol, you have a higher risk of having a cardiac disease.
Polyphenols in dark chocolate can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering bad cholesterol (LDL) and increasing good cholesterol (HDL). It also contains an abundance of antioxidants that protects lipoproteins against damage.
Dark chocolate has also been shown to improve insulin sensitivity - which is another common risk factor for many diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
5. It improves brain function.
Getting ready for the exams? Dark chocolate can give your brain a short-term boost - increasing your alertness. Perfect for when you're having back-to-back exams.
Flavanols, one of dark chocolate's vital components, dilates blood vessels, allowing more blood and oxygen to reach key areas of the brain, which helps in improving learning, memory, and focus.
6. It's rich in minerals.
Dark chocolate is packed with beneficial minerals including iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium.
Copper, along with iron, help in forming healthy red blood cells. It's also essential for proper functioning of immune system and nerves. Manganese is also vital to the body for it is used to form connective tissues, bones, hormones, and blood clotting factors. Magnesium is needed to maintain healthy bones.
7. It makes you happy and feel better.
Fall in love by eating a bar of dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), which is the same chemical you brain creates when you're falling in love. PEA makes your brain produce happy hormones called endorphins.
Dark chocolates also contain tryptophan which is used by the brain make serotonin, the neurotransmitter that can produce feelings of happiness.
Dark chocolate is literally a bar of happiness!