Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Light Side of Dark Chocolate

As it gets closer to the fall, there’s nothing like tucking into a delicious dark chocolate bar. Recent research has shown that this decadent desert shouldn’t be limited to just special occasions for it’s packed with essential nutrients and is one of the best sources of antioxidants. Here are 5 facts to convince you to indulge in a piece of dark chocolate to improve your overall health.

1) Loaded with Nutrients
A 100-gram bar of dark chocolate (70-85% Cacao) contains:
   66% of DV for Iron.
   57% of DV for Magnesium
   97% of DV for Manganese
   11 grams of fiber
   Also contains zinc, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, etc.…

2) High in Antioxidants
Dark chocolate has many organic compounds that function as antioxidants.
Some studies have shown that dark chocolate may even contain more antioxidants than blueberries and other fruits. Antioxidants are essential for our bodies to neutralize and get rid of the damaged cells in the bloodstream.

3) Good for your heart
It has been shown that dark chocolate can lower many of the risks related to heart disease. For example:

During an experiment, cocoa powder was found to decrease oxidized LDL cholesterol (which is when LDL is able to damage your tissues, including the arteries in your heart) and reduce insulin resistance in men.

The anti-inflammatory compounds in cocoa also help fight chronic vascular inflammation, which helps prevent heart disease.

It is said that eating dark chocolate everyday can reduce the risk of heart disease by 1/3.

4) Enhance your workout
The antioxidants catechins and epicatechins can help you through your workout by increasing your muscle’s absorption of the nutrients that create energy. The anti-inflammatory compounds can even decrease the feeling of soreness.

5) Boost your mind
Due to the increase in blood circulation from eating dark chocolate, there will also be an improved blood flow to the brain.

Research done at University of Nottingham found that drinking cocoa containing flavanols could improve the brains performance and alertness for 2-3 hours.

In conclusion, there are plenty of benefits to eating dark chocolate. However, this does not mean to eat the whole bar since there is still a lot of calories and sugar in chocolate. The best thing to do is savor one or two pieces a few times a week. Make sure to choose organic with 70% or higher cocoa content when making your selection. Eat up! 

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