The Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

At some point, you’ve probably heard that a little bit of chocolate each day can be good for you, and maybe you’ve already searched for some answers as to why. There might be one or two things you didn’t figure out. First of all, you should know that a little bit means just that: a little bit. Anything can be bad in excess, even though a lot of the things we like can be good for us in moderation. You can eat one or two ounces of dark chocolate, and that’s enough to reap the rewards.

Second, you need to know what constitutes “dark” chocolate. You’ll want to try to find something with at least seventy percent cocoa in it, and the more the better. The bigger the percentage, the less sweet the chocolate will taste. Some people like the bitter taste of extra dark chocolate, but it isn’t for everyone.

These are a few of the health benefits you can enjoy from a moderate daily helping of dark chocolate!

It contains high quantities of minerals that your body needs. These include: magnesium, copper, iron, manganese, potassium, zinc, selenium, and phosphorous. The chocolate does contain caffeine and theobromine, but only in small amounts that won’t affect your sleeping cycles.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the dangers of free radicals wandering around in your body. Essentially, free radicals are atoms that require electrons for pairing. While they look for the electrons they need, they can inhibit your DNA from carrying out coded procedures. Your cells die off as a result. To prevent this from happening, your body uses antioxidants to get in the way of any free radical chain reactions that could lead to a lot of damage to your cellular unction. It turns out that dark chocolate may have an even higher number of antioxidants than other “superfoods” like many different kinds of berries, thereby preventing free radicals from harming you.

Dark chocolate can also lower blood pressure, increase HDL (the good kind of cholesterol), and slash your risk of heart disease. In one study of 470 men lasting fifteen years, cardiovascular death was reduced by fifty percent in those who consumed cocoa. Other studies showed that cocoa can likely clean arteries of calcified plaque when consumed several times a week. On top of all this, it can help protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun.

That reduction in blood pressure and slashed risk of heart disease has another important take away: your brain will get more blood. Because of this, the elderly can expect to experience increased mental function.

Although a lot of the research into dark chocolate consumption over an extended period of time requires more time and complementary studies to ensure accuracy, we do know that there are a number of definitive benefits to eating a moderate amount of dark chocolate several times a week at the least. Just be sure not to overdo it–the high amount of sugar in any kind of chocolate can do a lot of damage if too much is consumed.