Exploring the health benefits of dark chocolate

2023-06-19 17:49:35
Exploring the health benefits of dark chocolate

We may feel that eating chocolate is good for the soul – but those feelings are real and backed by science, according to an article in USA Today.

Eating chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can improve mood and feelings of well-being. It is also jam-packed with helpful nutrients like antioxidants and minerals that can improve your overall health.

Feeling sluggish? Dark chocolate is high in fiber. Need better sleep? The magnesium in dark chocolate can help. Headed out into the sun? Dark chocolate’s flavanols might help protect your skin from UV (ultraviolet) rays.

Those flavanols can also help improve blood flow, lower blood pressure and may help prevent some cancers.

What are 3 benefits of eating dark chocolate?

The soul-soothing effects of chocolate are not just speculation. A recent study found that people who consumed dark chocolate (85% cacao) for three weeks reported less negative feelings than the control group.

However, the 70% cacao group did not have the same effect, which suggests that the dose of cacao may play a role. So, if you’re looking to boost your mood, you may have better luck with dark chocolate than milk chocolate.

Additionally, dark chocolate is rich in important minerals like iron, magnesium and phosphorous. In a previous interview with USA TODAY, Dr. Travis Nemkov, an assistant research professor in biochemistry and molecular genetics at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, discussed the essential role of iron in the body.

“Iron is critical for the body to produce hemoglobin, which is the protein in red blood cells that uses iron to transport oxygen throughout the body,” Nemkov said.

What iron-rich foods are on Nemkov’s list of recommendations? “Rich sources of iron include fortified cereals, red meat, poultry, fish, oysters, kidney/red beans and lentils and chickpeas, tomatoes, tofu, spinach, dark leafy greens, potatoes, cashews and, most importantly, dark chocolate (45-69% cacao),” he explains.

The flavanols in dark chocolate are also antioxidants that may help prevent cardiovascular disease.

Are there any risks to eating dark chocolate?

Like most things, the key is moderation. Chocolate can be dense in calories, which could lead to weight gain over time. Additionally, dark and milk chocolate may be high in sugar (although dark chocolate is better in this regard). But eating a small amount of dark chocolate will likely have a greater benefit than risk.


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