Dark chocolate and the benefits
With Easter on it’s way I thought I would write about the top 5 benefits of DARK chocolate. When looking to buy a dark chocolate, always go for an option that is at least 70% pure cacao. Due to the high cacao levels, it has a much richer taste. Always check that cacao is the main ingredient to be getting the most health benefits from your chocolate and enjoy in small quantities.
- If you have read my last blog you would have learnt about free radicals and the damage they do to our bodies. We are exposed to them daily in life so it’s important to follow a diet rich in antioxidants to fight Antioxidants help our bodies fight the free radicals, and the good news is that dark chocolate contains antioxidants! There are 2 groups of antioxidants in dark chocolate - flavonoids and polyphenols. The higher the cocao content of the chocolate the higher these antioxidants will be! (notice i wrote cacao not cocoa)
- Eating dark chocolate can potentially improve heart health. The flavanols which are the main type of flavonoids found in dark chocolate have been shown to have an effect on lowering blood pressure and increasing blood flow to the heart and brain.
- As mentioned above, the flavanols can increase blood flow to the brain, and this can be beneficial to conditions that are a result of reduced cerebral blood flow such as dementia and stroke.
- Studies have shown that a small amount of dark chocolate everyday can have a positive effect on lowering blood pressure for those already suffering from hypertension.
- Dark chocolate is very nutritious. Apart from the excellent level of antioxidants, it’s also full of other vitamins and minerals such as riboflavin, niacin, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, omega 6, theobromine and caffeine. Having a square of good quality dark chocolate after your evening meal is a healthy way to treat yourself!