The Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Perhaps you are passionate about your healthy diet. You have seen the benefits of greater levels of energy, trimmer figure, and overall better health. Or perhaps you have medical needs that dictate certain dietary guidelines, such as being gluten free. Or maybe you choose to refrain from meat out of personal convictions.

Whatever your reasons for your healthy diet may be, the simple reality is that not everyone will share your enthusiasm for nutrient-rich foods. In fact, some people may be so set in their ways that the mere suggestion of healthy fare makes them turn up their noses without so much as a taste. The good news is that there are plenty of tasty and healthy options that you can serve that will meet your healthy ideals without ever raising question from party guests.

1. Top Source of Antioxidants.

Antioxidants help protect the cells in your body from damage done by free radicals. Dark chocolate has been ranked as one of the best sources of antioxidants. A diet high in antioxidants is credited with everything from preventing disease to slowing the effects of aging!

2. Better Heart Health.

Because of the flavonoids found in dark chocolate it has been shown to help to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol. Dark chocolate consumption is linked with a decreased rate of heart disease. One study showed that consuming dark chocolate five times per week could lower the risk of heart disease by over 50 percent.

3. Helps Lower Blood Pressure.

Compounds found in dark chocolate also help to relax blood vessels. This relaxing helps blood to flow better to all parts of the body and decrease blood pressure levels which decreases stress and strain on your veins.

4. Nutrient Dense.

While the antioxidants in dark chocolate are definitely noteworthy, its nutritional prowess does not end there. Dark chocolate also provides notable amounts of iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, zinc, fiber, potassium, and more.

5. Brain Power.

Dark chocolate has also been shown to help improve brain function. Not only does dark chocolate protect brain cells, but the improved blood flow it is responsible for is also a boost to brain power.

6. Blood Sugar Friendly.

Unlike many other desserts, dark chocolate actually has a relatively low glycemic index (GI) number. This mean that your blood sugar levels stay stable, thus helping you avoid the energy crashes and inflammation caused by blood sugar spikes.

The Fine Print: Before you happily decide to make your next meal consist solely of dark chocolate (yum!), keep these caveats in mind. Any dark chocolate you choose needs to have a high cacao content (at least 80 percent) to reap maximum benefit. This is because it is the cacao content that offers all of the above health benefits. Chocolates with lower cacao percentages do not offer as many benefits and also have higher sugar levels. Additionally, remember that while dark chocolate does offer notable benefits, it is still calorie-dense and should still be regarded as a treat food. Keep serving sizes to about two small squares to avoid overindulging and enjoy!