Sweet, smooth, delicious. These three adjectives are commonly associated with chocolate. There is one more word that should be added to this list that will shock and enlighten you. The word is, healthy. That’s right, chocolate has major health benefits when part of a healthy balanced diet and as always in moderation. Read on to learn how this enjoyable dessert just got a little sweeter.
Healthy Heart: Chocolate is more likely than tea to lower one’s blood pressure. A lower blood pressure reduces the risk of stroke and heart attacks. The chemical found in chocolate that helps support a healthy heart is called polyphenols. These anti-clotting blood thinning properties can help , lower ldl cholesterol, as well as contain inflammation fighting properties. Dark chocolate is to credit for improving the function of blood vessels. Flavonoids also found in cocoa help keep platelets moving. Women in particular who consume more than 45 grams of chocolate a week have a 20 percent lower risk of stroke.
Healthy Mind: The same benefit to the heart of more blood flow also helps the brain. Chocolate also contains chemicals that support a positive mood therefore reducing stress. Because chocolate has caffeine, it acts as a slight pick-me up helping your productivity and alertness.
Healthy Skin: Dark Chocolate has an antioxidant called flavonoids and offer protection from UV damage. The number found in chocolate is eight times greater than those found in strawberries. Because cocoa helps reduce stress this helps with collagen breakdown in the skin and results in fewer wrinkles. The antioxidants help rid the body of free radicals which can damage cells and slow the signs of aging.
Choose your Dessert Wisely: A simple piece of dark chocolate has fiber providing a good source of nutrition and helping to fill you up. This is in comparison to a physically larger dessert, which is full of more empty calories from excess sugar. When choosing between a large piece of cake (even a chocolate one) or cheesecake, a small bonbon can help curb your hunger and desire for a large calorie filled dessert.
The key to maximizing the benefits of chocolate is summed up in a small statement, “A little dark chocolate a day keeps the doctor away”. The idea is that a consistent stream of antioxidants will fair well for you over time. If you over indulge your plan could backfire if you gain a lot of weight and end up with major heart problems.