Dark chocolate – it’s rich, tasty and a guaranteed pick-me-up (our tummies are growling already!). Dark chocolate is also one of the few processed foods in the world that is wonderfully good for you – inside and out. Here we sum up eight compelling reasons to make dark chocolate a part of your everyday diet.
Dark chocolate – it’s now officially a superfood
Before we start extolling the many virtues of dark chocolate, let’s first firm up what we’re talking about here. The type of dark chocolate that’s wonderful for you have to have a high cocoa content (of at least 70%). However, in order for any dark chocolate to be officially deemed as a ‘superfood’, it should also avoid a few unhelpful ingredients, which are: alkalinization, cocoa butter equivalents (CBE), hydrogenated oils, and vegetable oils.
When these are avoided, and the chocolate has a minimum 70% cocoa content, you can expect to consume plenty of the following body-loving minerals and nutrients:
These minerals and nutrients deliver a raft of benefits, including…
1. A powerful burst of anti-oxidants
Dark chocolate takes on skin-harming free radicals with grace (such as pollution and food toxins). It achieves this by being fulsome on the antioxidant front (getting technical, it is the flavonoids and polyphenols within it that help neutralize those cell-attacking free radicals).
2. It may lower cholesterol
High cholesterol can wreak havoc on the body, leading to stroke, heart attack, chest pain, and blocked arteries.
In 2012, research discovered that eating 50 grams of dark chocolate a day, for just 15 days, lowered the levels of bad cholesterol and raised the body’s HDL (known to you and I as ‘good’ cholesterol).
3. Dark chocolate lowers the risk of age-related brain conditions
Dark chocolate is a seriously effective booster of blood flow to the brain and also feeds our gray matter with vital minerals that are known for lowering the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
4. It may help in the battle against belly fat
There’s no fun in fighting stomach fat (not unless you eat dark chocolate to combat it, that is). Backing this up is a 2013 study, which found that ladies who consumed dark chocolate for just seven days reduced their waist size. Now that’s a diet we’d like to try!
5. It protects the skin
Dark chocolate is shown to protect the skin from harmful, aging UV rays. And, as an added bonus, dark chocolate is also thought to protect the collagen in the skin too (which is the stuff that keeps your skin firm, fresh and bouncy).
6. Dark chocolate contributes to healthy eyes
There’s a reason to believe that dark chocolate can help with your visual function – at least in the short term (so we’re talking dry eyes, headaches and fuzzy vision following a day at the computer).
This finding came about from a study back in 2011, which found that participants
enjoyed improved vision for a minimum of 2 hours following the consumption of dark chocolate.
So it seems that it’s out with the carrots, and in with the dark chocolate!
7. It reduces the risk of heart disease
There’s a lot to be said about the magnesium and flavonols that are found within the dark
chocolate, as they’ve been proven to improve the health of the cardiovascular system – which is great news for your heart health.
8. And finally – dark chocolate controls hunger
We’ve left perhaps our favorite until last. Dark chocolate not only satisfies, but it also helps us feel full for longer while suppressing cravings for something sweet.
So if you can’t control that urge to break your diet, crack open the dark chocolate and say bye-bye to those hunger pains.