5 Health Benefits of Chocolate

Friday, 06 Dec 2013 01:40 AM

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Chocolate has sometimes been demonized as being sinful, additive and indulgent. However, the health benefits offered by chocolate are gradually coming to the fore following some studies. Nonetheless, the health benefits of chocolate generally reference benefits caused by eating dark chocolate instead of the sugar or dairy-rich children’s versions.

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Chocolate has been found to decrease blood pressure, control cough, improve the functioning of the brain and the heart, the condition of the skin, and the performance of mathematical calculations, and has even been found to increase longevity.

The top five health benefits offered by dark chocolate include:

Decreasing the Risk of a Stroke

The heart actively reaps the health benefits of dark chocolate. A small amount of dark chocolate, eaten two to three times per week, can improve blood circulation, prevent the formation of clots, and prevent the hardening of arteries. Dark chocolate contains copper and potassium, which aid cardiovascular health.

Protecting Against Blood Inflammation

Eating a bar of dark chocolate per week benefits your heart and blood vessels by decreasing the amount of blood inflammation-inducing proteins.
 
Reducing the Risk of Diabetes

Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which help reduce insulin resistance, thereby promoting the body’s ability to efficiently use insulin. Dark chocolate also has a low glycemic index, which means that it does not cause a huge surge or fall in the body’s blood sugar levels.

Strengthening Your Brain

Eating dark chocolate causes an increase in blood flow to the brain, which enhances cognitive functions. The resultant increased circulation also prevents strokes. The chemical composition of chocolate creates reactions similar to those caused by the chemicals that cause humans to fall in love, and therefore, chocolate encourages the brain to release endorphins, which make people feel happier.

Prevention of Cancer

Among lesser known health benefits of dark chocolate is that it is full of anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants combat free radicals in the body, which are the cause of aging and cancer. The benefits of dark chocolate in preventing cancer come from a compound called pentamer in dark chocolate, which suppresses the division and growth of cancer cells.

Despite these wonderful health benefits of chocolate, caution is advised as one must avoid overconsumption of chocolate. Chocolate, as an energy-rich food, can cause obesity as it commercially contains fats, sugar, and powdered milk, which greatly increase its caloric content.

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