How Dark Chocolate Benefits Your Health | Author: Sarita Haines

There are significant health benefits to dark chocolate.  According to research studies, chocolate provides clues to fighting disease.  Your health and well-being can be enhanced while you savor and enjoy chocolate.   Below, you’ll see how research involving chocolate consumption can help conditions such as high cholesterol, heart disease and high blood pressure.

Chocolate and Cancer

The same antioxidants found in wine and green tea are found in raw cacao and dark chocolate.  Antioxidants protect cells from toxins, slow the growth of cancer cells, and help reduce cancer risks and heart disease.   The greater the amount of cacao contained in chocolate, the more antioxidants it has.  (Note: White chocolate does not contain antioxidants, so look for dark chocolate instead).

Chocolate and Cholesterol

While many foods high in saturated fats are known to raise cholesterol levels, studies have shown that chocolate consumption does not.  This is due to the type of saturated fat  chocolate contains.   Less harmful saturated fat in one’s diet means plaque that can gather in the arteries.  In fact, studies have shown that dark chocolate may in fact boost good cholesterol.

Chocolate and Depression

The fat naturally found in chocolate helps provide a feeling of enjoyment and satisfaction, releasing mood-enhancing endorphins.  Chocolate also may help relieve symptoms of anxiety.  It  is thought to have an opiate effect  that may help improve mood.  A study conducted on patients who were depressed showed that the dark chocolate provided relief from their symptoms.

Chocolate and Circulation

Since the chemicals in dark chocolate help prevent the formation blood platelets, the chance of blood clots is minimized.  In addition, blood pressure may be lowered with a regular consumption of dark chocolate each day.   This is a result of the flavonoids present in cacao that help with circulation.  Keep in mind that flavonoids are lower in milk chocolate than dark chocolate. 

How Much Chocolate Can You Have?

Include 1 ounce of dark chocolate per day to your diet.  Select your chocolate carefully, ensuring that there are no refined sugars or hydrogenated oils, which have undesirable health effects.  Also, look for  a high percentage of cacao (70% or above).  Remember that chocolate does have calories, so make necessary modifications to your calorie intake.

About the Author:

For more information on the health benefits of chocolate, visit Chocolate Is Healthy. Learn how chocolate can prevent heart attacks. Read about raw organic chocolate.

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