Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients that can positively affect your health. Chocolate is one of the most popular foods in the world. Whether you are a fan of milk chocolate or frothy dark cocoa, there are certain downsides to eating it. There are a lot of additives and sugar added to make the chocolate soft and smooth. But that doesn’t mean chocolate has no nutritional value.
Chocolate contains flavonoids, compounds that help regulate cell activity in the body. They also help protect against toxins and environmental stressors. Flavonoids are found in many foods, such as tea, berries, citrus fruits, and legumes. But chocolate has the highest levels of all.
We all know that eating a lot of chocolate is a bad thing, but are there some good things that happen when you take a small amount of chocolate daily? Here are 10 things that happen to your body when you eat chocolate every day.
Chocolate lowers blood pressure
Believe it or not, as little as 30 grams of dark chocolate, the size of a Hershey’s Special Dark mini has been clinically proven to lower blood pressure. True, the amount lost was small, and only for dark chocolate. White chocolate and milk chocolate didn’t show any difference, but if you’re at risk for high blood pressure, a small bite of dark chocolate can be good for your body.
Chocolate can prevent inflammation
Dark chocolate has been shown to reduce or even prevent inflammation. Inflammation is how your body responds to fight disease. But when you have chronic inflammation, you run the risk of damaging the cells in your body, which can lead to diabetes or arthritis. That same little piece of dark chocolate can do you several favors at once.
Chocolate May Prevent Sun Damage to Skin
Dark chocolate to the rescue again! This time it’s dark chocolate with high levels of flavonoids. Studies have shown that people who ingest high flavonoids are able to resist the sun’s harmful rays longer than those who do not. That doesn’t mean you don’t need sunscreen, though. It just means that a little chocolate prevents the sun from doing any further damage.
Chocolate can improve your memory
A research study has shown that people who eat a little chocolate can increase the gamma frequency in their brain in as little as 30 minutes, and the effect can last for several hours. This boost affects your ability to process new information as well as recall. Of course, again, dark chocolate has the best benefit.
Chocolate helps you train
It sounds suspicious, but listen to us: Dark chocolate in moderation can prolong your workout. Cocoa is rich in flavonoids called epicatechin which increases the production of nitric oxide. This gives your blood the capacity to carry more oxygen. Higher oxygen levels allow your body to work longer. See how easy it is?
Chocolate keeps depression away
It’s not just about eating away your sadness – there’s science behind it. Chocolate helps regulate serotonin, which is your brain’s happy chemical. It won’t solve everything, but a small dose of dark chocolate can help break a bad mood or even prevent one from starting. But don’t get too excited, as the recommended daily dose is one ounce.
Chocolate reduces the risk of heart attack
It’s these flavonoids again! They are found in many natural foods such as acai berries, apples, and legumes. But dark chocolate, or the cocoa it is made from, has a higher level of flavonoids than any of them, which are antioxidants. A little chocolate is good for your heart’s health, but remember that other foods high in flavonoids are lower in fat, sugar, and calories.
Chocolate can reduce stress
A dose of dark chocolate also lowers some levels which are bad. One of them is cortisol, a hormone that makes anxiety worse. A study by Johns Hopkins showed that taking chocolate during a stressful situation can reduce anxiety in as little as half an hour. Cortisol also causes heart damage, so it’s one less thing to stress.
Chocolate can help you sleep
The same serotonin that regulates your mood also regulates your sleep. So this dark chocolate can also put you to sleep. Yes, there is caffeine in dark chocolate, but not enough to counteract serotonin. Milk chocolate has less cocoa and therefore less serotonin. So, if you are using chocolate to stay awake, stay away from the dark variety.
Chocolate can make you gain weight
Yes, even dark chocolate with all of its health benefits can make you gain weight. Milk chocolate has added milk and sugar, and white chocolate has no beneficial cocoa. But dark chocolate, even in its purest unsweetened form, still has a cargo of calories. So, if you are considering taking chocolate for the other benefits, be sure to severely limit your intake. Remember, just a little goes a long way.