The Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is truly a super food.

Chunks of dark chocolate on a table, benefits of dark chocolate

What if we told you that eating dark chocolate could clear your complexion, lower your blood pressure, and reduce your risk of heart failure?

The benefits of dark chocolate might seem like some too-good-to-be-true scam, but it’s true, it really is good for you—in moderation of course. But the benefits depend on the type of chocolate in which you choose to indulge.

Differences in Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, there are three variations: white, milk, and dark. While each of these are delicious in their own way, they are very different when it comes to health benefits. Chocolate is derived from cocoa beans, which are rich in antioxidants and other nutrients.

Dark chocolate contains at least 35-100% of the cocoa beans used to make it, depending on the variation, while milk and white chocolate contain a much lower percentage of cocoa beans and much more sugar.
So, naturally, the darker the chocolate, the more health benefits it contains. But if you want to reap the most benefits, opt for at least 70% cocoa or more.

Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Weight loss

A little bit of dark chocolate can reduce cravings and suppress your appetite. So, grab a square when you’re hit with a snack attack. Keep in mind that all chocolate—even dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa —has calories, fat, and sugar. So stick to a one small square a day.

Related: Foods That Help Alleviate Arthritis Pain or Symptoms 

Keeps your heart healthy

Dark chocolate can improve your circulation, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. This is thanks to flavanols, a chemical compound also found in fruits and vegetables that have been found to improve blood flow at the cellular level, leading to lower blood pressure.
But remember, just a square or two a day.

Prevents inflammation

70% cocoa dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, which have some major anti-inflammatory effects. Flavanols help to reduce inflammation and keep the cells that line the arteries healthy.
Antioxidants fight inflammation and free radicals, which can help your immunity and reduce your risk of disease.

Improves brain function

Studying for a big test? Or feeling a bit down in the dumps? Antioxidants and flavanols enhance neurological function that promote healthy cognitive benefits. Studies show that dark chocolate can boost memory, cognitive skills, and mood.

Makes your skin glow

New studies show you might be able to ditch the sunblock and eat dark chocolate instead. (Of course, you really should still wear sunscreen.) Flavanols protect your skin from UV rays and may also prevent wrinkles.

Related: Foods That Are Good Sources of Vitamin C 

So, after reading about all those benefits, a square of dark chocolate a day might do you some good. There are so many decadent-yet-healthy desserts you can make with dark chocolate to satisfy your sweet tooth. Just remember that moderation is always key.

What’s your favorite way to way to have dark chocolate? Tell us on Facebook—we’d love to hear from you.

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