Good news to chocolate lovers: Dark chocolate is good for the heart

Researches show that dark chocolate has many health benefits as it is loaded with antioxidants and contains more polyphenols and flavonols than fruit juice.

The flavanols are a sub-group of chemical compounds known as phytonutrients that occur naturally in plants and have numerous health benefits.

Researchers at the Hershey Center for Health & Nutrition found that gram per gram, there was more antioxidant capacity and a greater total flavanol content in cocoa powder than fruit powders.

Similarly when they compared the amount of antioxidants, per serving, of dark chocolate, cocoa, hot chocolate mix and fruit juices they found that both dark chocolate and cocoa had a greater antioxidant capacity and a greater total flavanol, and polyphenol content than the fruit juices. However hot chocolate, due to processing (alkalization) of the chocolate, contained little if any.

Although high in fat, dark chocolate has been discovered to have a number of health benefits which is great news for chocolate lovers.

Dark chocolate is good for the heart. Studies show that just eating a small amount of dark chocolate two or three times each week can help lower blood pressure. Moreover, dark chocolate improves blood flow and helps prevent blood clots and arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries.

Dark chocolate also increases blood flow to the brain and to the heart, thus helps improve cognitive function and reduces the risk of stroke.

Feeling anxious and depressed? Dark chocolate can help solve these problems since it contains chemical compounds that have a positive effect on the mood and cognitive health. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), a chemical that encourages the brain to release endorphines that will make you feel happier.

Dark chocolate helps keep the blood vessels healthy and the circulation unimpaired to protect against type 3 diabetes.

The flavonoids in dark chocolate also help reduce insulin resistance by helping your cells to function normally and regain the ability to use your body’s insulin efficiently. Dark chocolate won’t cause huge spikes in blood sugar levels as it has a low glycemic index.

Loaded with antioxidants, dark chocolate can protect you from many types of cancer and slowdown the signs of aging.

Dark chocolate also contains theobromine and caffeine, both mild stimulants. However, dark chocolate contains much less caffeine than coffee. A 1.5 ounce bar of dark chocolate contains 27 mg of caffeine, compared to the 200 mg found in an eight ounce cup of coffee.

Theobromine on the other hand has been shown to harden tooth enamel, thus lowers your risk of getting cavities.  It also helps suppress coughs.

Dark chocolate is a rich source of vitamins and minerals such as potassium, copper, magnesium, and iron.

These help prevent against stroke and cardiovascular ailments. The iron in chocolate protects against iron deficiency anemia, and the magnesium in chocolate helps prevent type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart diseases.#