8 Benefits of Eating Chocolate
Chocolate lovers rejoice – there’s no need to feel guilty when you indulge in a little bit of your favorite sweet treat. Chocolate, specifically dark chocolate, is right up there with other “superfoods” like blueberries and kale. Every year, the average American consumes about 12 pounds of chocolate, and over $75 billion is spent on it worldwide. While processed, sweetened chocolate has little to no nutritional value, dark chocolate has a long list of impressive health benefits that will blow your mind.
Protection from free radicals
Chocolate is a powerful food that can help the body fight off a variety of disease causing free-radicals. These harmful compounds are created by various cellular processes in the body, and can only be neutralized by antioxidants, which are found in abundance in chocolate. The two found in chocolate are flavonoids and polyphenols, both of which are powerful antioxidants that your body uses to fight off disease.
According to the American Cancer Institute, chocolate can be effective in both fighting and lowering your chances of getting cancer. Those flavonoids do more than just fight off free-radicals, they also seem to put up a pretty major fight against cancerous cells. How cool is that?
Helps regulate your overall cholesterol
The cocoa butter found in dark chocolate contains a high amount of oleic acid, stearic, and palmitic acids, all of which have a neutral effect on cholesterol, meaning it neither raises or lowers it. Studies have shown that just one week of dark chocolate consumption results in an overall healthier cholesterol.
Better heart health
Flavanols found in dark chocolate have an incredibly positive effect on heart health and can be help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the heart and brain. It can also help make blood platelets less sticky, which reduces the risk of blood clots and stroke.
Decreases the effects of diabetes
A daily intake of dark chocolate has been shown to lower blood pressure of hypertensive diabetics, in addition to decreasing blood sugar. In fact, it is known to be one of the best foods to regulate your blood sugar levels.
Want to boost your memory and cognitive function? Then eat dark chocolate! Research has shown that chocolate can help pump more blood to your brain, which in turn can cause a jump in cognitive abilities. Chocolate can even help protect your brain from neurodegenerative diseases like dementia.
It helps you produce endorphins
Endorphins are brain hormones that are often produced during emotions of excitement or love, and even exercise. By eating chocolate, your brain will release a flood of endorphins, which are important for regulating your mood and maintaining good mental health.
A group of researchers at Redding University conducted a study that showed that regularly eating chocolate can help improve your vision, due to improved blood circulation. The studies conducted showed that those who had a daily intake of dark chocolate performed better on various vision tests including night vision tests.