Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients that can positively affect your health.
Made from the seed of the cacao tree, it is one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet.
1. Powerful Source of Antioxidants
Dark chocolate is loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants. These include polyphenols, flavanols, catechins, among others.
One study showed that cocoa and dark chocolate contained more antioxidant activity, polyphenols and flavanols than other tested fruits, including blueberries and acai berries.
2. Dark Chocolate Lower Bad Cholesterol
Consuming dark chocolate can improve several important risk factors for heart disease.
It makes perfect sense that cocoa lowers oxidized LDL. It contains an abundance of powerful antioxidants that make it into the bloodstream and protect the lipoproteins from oxidative damage.
Dark chocolate can also reduce insulin resistance, which is another common risk factor for many diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
3. Protect Your Skin Against The Sun
Bioactive compounds in dark chocolate can also be perfect for your skin.
Flavonols can protect against sun-induced damage, improve blood flow to the skin and increase the density and hydration of the skin.
If you are planning a beach vacation, consider loading dark chocolate over the past few weeks and months.
4. Dark Chocolate Improve Brain Function
The good news is not over yet. Dark chocolate can also improve the brain function.
A study of healthy volunteers showed that 5 days of high consumption of flavanol-based cocoa improved blood flow to the brain.
Cocoa can also significantly improve cognitive function in elderly people with mental disorders. It also improves fluidity and several disease risk factors.
Cocoa also contains stimulants such as coffee and tea, which may explain why cocoa can improve brain function in the short term.
5. Improve Blood Flow and Lower Blood Pressure
Flavanols in dark chocolate can stimulate the endothelium, the wall of arteries, to produce nitric oxide (NO), which is a gas.
One of the functions of the NO is to send signals to the arteries to relax, which decreases the resistance to the blood flow and thus reduces the blood pressure.
There are many controlled trials showing that cocoa and dark chocolate can improve blood circulation and lower blood pressure, but the effects are usually benign.
However, there is also a study in people with high blood pressure who have shown no effect, so take everything with a grain of salt.