With its rich flavor and bittersweet taste, dark chocolate is a treat many people enjoy. However, many people do not realize that dark chocolate is full of health benefits.
Chocolate is not only delicious but also has many health benefits. It’s packed with antioxidants, which are natural substances that help prevent disease. Dark chocolate, which is chocolate made with at least 70% cocoa, contains antioxidants called flavanols. These antioxidants work in our bodies to improve our health in many ways. One function of antioxidants is to fight off free radicals, which are atoms that are missing an electron, and which cause damage to our cells. Free radical damage also causes changes in our DNA, and these changes are associated with health problems such as heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Free radicals have also been found to play a role in the development of diabetes. Some studies show that eating dark chocolate a few times a week can help lower a person’s blood sugar, making it easier for that person to control his or her blood sugar. Dark chocolate has also been shown to help lower blood pressure.
Dark chocolate also improves our mood. In one study, people who ate dark chocolate reported feeling happier and less depressed than those who ate white chocolate. In laboratory studies, flavanols have been shown to help prevent the growth of cancer cells. These same studies have also shown that flavanols increase the life span of mice.
In addition to antioxidants, dark chocolate contains magnesium, iron, potassium, and zinc. Magnesium is an electrolyte that helps regulate blood pressure and muscle contraction, while iron helps transport oxygen to the heart, muscles, and brain. Potassium and zinc are also needed in the body for cell function and energy production.
Although dark chocolate has many health benefits, it should still be consumed in moderation. Although dark chocolate is a healthy option compared to other sweets, it does still contain calories, so it is best to limit the amount eaten.