We’ve all heard about how chocolate is bad for you; fattening, sugary and it has caffeine. But we rarely get to know about all the positive effects chocolate can have on your health, and there’s a lot to know.
Dark chocolate has a lot of special effects on the body – everything from reducing stress to expanding blood vessels to make for a healthier heart. There’s a lot of studies out there to prove that eating even four bars of dark chocolate a week can be hugely beneficial to your health.
The reality is that cacao is behind all of this. While it’s bitter and chalky on its own, blended with milk, sugar and cocoa butter, cacao is rich in health benefits and delicious. Unfortunately, it’s these other ingredients that give chocolate a bad reputation.
In moderation, chocolate has been proven to help with cardiovascular health. In a nine year study conducted in Sweden, over 31,000 women ate one or two servings of dark chocolate a week and cut their risk of heart failure by as much as a third. A German study found that a square a day of this dark chocolate lowered blood pressure and reduced the chances of heart failure and strokes by 39 percent.
Most of this comes down to the flavonoids in cacao, which are antioxidant compounds that aid the flexibility of veins and arteries. And even though this cacao comes with a few not-so-healthy additions, it can still work out okay. Literally. By working out.
After you’ve exercised to burn off those few extra calories, an Australian study suggests that cacao can reduce the heightening of the blood pressure that occurs post-exercise, especially in people overweight.
If you’re a dark chocolate lover, you’re in a great deal of luck. Not only is 70% cocoa chocolate the healthiest option for everyone, but it can actually work well with a diet plan too. It’s been proven that dark chocolate is more filling and lessens the body’s cravings for sweet, salty or fatty foods. It sounds mad, but dark chocolate could even help diabetes sufferers.
An Italian study demonstrated that participants who ate a small dark chocolate bar once a day for fifteen days saw their potential for insulin resistance drop by nearly half. “Flavonoids increase nitric oxide production,” says lead researcher Claudio Ferri, M.D., a professor at the University of L’Aquila in Italy. “And that helps control insulin sensitivity.”
Of course, you shouldn’t eat chocolate in excess or anything, but if you can’t get enough of dark chocolate there’s no better excuse to treat yourself. Take a look at some of our dark chocolate selections on the website, and see if we can’t help keep you just a little bit healthier!