If you’ve ever been eating chocolate and someone told you to stop eating so much, you’ve now got a great excuse to keep on eating. That’s because chocolate is good for you! In general, the darker chocolate you go for, the better. Dozens of medical studies have all affirmed the healthy and nutritious benefits of eating dark chocolate. Most of it has to come down to the humble cocoa tree, which produces the beans that give chocolate the hearty and smooth taste that we all love. This part of nature’s gift is translated directly into the bars we eat.
In 2019 alone, over 7.7 million metric tons of chocolate were consumed across the world. This $103 billion dollar industry is only expected to grow, and for good reason. Let’s take a look at 5 of the top benefits and advantages of chocolate so that you can eat it and feel great doing so.
Tons of Nutrients
The more cocoa a chocolate bar contains, the more packed it is with healthy minerals and fiber. From protein and iron to magnesium, potassium, and so much more, you can add to your daily value of nutrients required by snacking on a few bars. Careful to not eat too much though, or you’ll probably add on more calories to your weight than you want! As always, too much of anything can be bad for you.
Getting enough antioxidants is key to keeping harmful substances and free radicals away from your body. Luckily, dark chocolate is a rich source of antioxidants with organic compounds such as polyphenols and flavanols. That’s because the cocoa bean in general has tons of antioxidants — perhaps it’s even more than antioxidant-rich blueberries according to some studies.
Protects Your Bloodstream
The flavanols we find in dark chocolate do more than just aid in antioxidants. They also play a very important role in protecting your bloodstream lining, acting as a safety protectant along your vessels and arteries. Plus, this healthy organic compound also produces nitric oxide, which is responsible for carrying signals over to your brain and heart to assist in better blood flow and inducing a feeling of relaxation. With time, chocolate could indeed help to lower your blood pressure and heart shock waves.
Moderates Your Cholesterol
When it comes to protecting your heart, there are few sweets that can do a better job than dark chocolate. One of the biggest perks is that dark chocolate can help moderate your cholesterol levels. For instance, cocoa can help to decrease oxidized LDL cholesterol in men and increase HDL overall. In case you were wondering, LDL is the bad cholesterol that has been in contact with free radicals. You certainly don’t want it hanging around in your body at high levels! Another perk of cocoa is that it can help to lower your insulin resistance for those at risk of diabetes.
Reduces Risk for Heart Disease
As the cocoa in the dark chocolate continues to reduce your levels of harmful oxidized LDL, you’ll soon have far lower amounts of cholesterol that might take up room in your arteries over time. This means your risk of disease is significantly lowered, and even the numbers back up this important finding. A study showed that if you ate chocolate at least two times a week, your risk of having calcified plaque lodged in your arteries was lowered by 32%. That percentage increases to a whopping 52% if you eat dark chocolate more than five times a week. Every time you take a bite of chocolate, you now can comfortably know that your taste buds and your heart will be thanking you.
Now that you’re familiar with the benefits and advantages of this tasty sweet, enjoy chocolate to your heart’s content!