Will Eating Dark Chocolate Improve Your Health?
Based on the title of this article, you probably think this is some kind of cruel early April Fool's joke or something. But it is not. Whether you are able to believe it or not, certain kinds of chocolate are actually really good for your health and provide tons of useful benefits.
Now, before you go the store and buy a bunch of Hershey's Milk Chocolate bars, keep in mind that I said certain kinds of chocolate and that the title of this article says eating dark chocolate can improve your health.
Those Hershey's Milk Chocolate bars are still going to make you fat and will not provide much in the form of health benefits. Hershey's Dark Chocolate, on the other hand, is a much healthier option. Although, I would ditch Hershey's all together since their chocolate product is way too processed which seriously diminishes the nutritional value of it.
The kind of chocolate you should be eating is natural dark chocolate that is over 60 percent pure cocoa. It has a much higher price tag than the simple Hershey's bars, but I feel like after reading this article you will not be able to put a price tag on all of the amazing benefits that this kind of chocolate would provide for you.
Let's get started, shall we?
It Can Lower Your Blood Pressure
Cocoa contains a high amount of antioxidants known as flavanols. When consumed, these flavanols work to lower one's blood pressure. As someone who used to have high blood pressure, integrating natural dark chocolate into my diet worked wonders and my blood pressure returned to normal and healthy levels within a few weeks.
It Can Make More Blood Flow To Your Brain
When your brain is deprived of normal blood flow, it can seriously diminish your brain's ability to perform basic functions. Eating dark chocolate solves this potentially serious issue by opening up your blood vessels so that more blood can flow to your brain.
This is another benefit that can be attributed to the rich concentration of flavanols within cocoa as they widen blood vessels when consumed and lead to the increased blood flow. And when more blood is flowing to your brain, you are able to focus and concentrate more on what you are doing and you are also more capable of solving any problems that you run into.
It Can Make You Feel More Relieved And Less Stressed Out
Dark chocolate has high amounts of magnesium in it. This magnesium works wonders for people who are dealing with a lot of stress because it is able to stop the production of a certain hormone known as cortisol.
For those who may not know, cortisol is the hormone responsible for causing the feelings of stress and anxiety. With this hormone under control, you should be able to keep your stress under control as well and be able to feel more relieved and happy.
And we all know the absolute bliss we feel after eating chocolate, whether it is milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, or any other kind of chocolate. This is because consuming chocolate triggers the release of two hormones associated with feeling content and calm – serotonin and dopamine.
It Can Help You Resist Unhealthy Temptations
Consuming dark chocolate can help you be able to fight unhealthy temptations and cravings throughout the day. Various scientific studies have indicated that this effect is due to the concentration of phytochemicals that exist within cocoa.
These chemicals will keep those that consume them from being tempted to eat unhealthy foods and instead push us towards more healthier food options. I imagine that the very concept of eating chocolate helping us make healthier food choices sounds really crazy, but bizarrely enough it is true.
It Can Shield Your Fragile Brain From The Effects Of Oxidation
The brain is one of the biggest consumers of your body's supply of oxygen – using up to 20 percent of it during any given time. Not many people know that oxygen can actually damage our precious organs, though.
This is why it is recommended that people eat plenty of antioxidants throughout the day. You see, our bodies need oxygen and there is nothing we can do about that, but there are things we can do to keep our organs safe from the harmful effects of oxidation. And that is where antioxidants come in – and cocoa is jam packed with them.
The aforementioned flavanols are just one of many antioxidants that exist within cocoa and they all work together to shield your brain cells from the effects of oxidation – effects which include premature aging and death. And while we now know that brain cells are able to regenerate, it would still be in the best interests of your health and well-being to keep as many healthy brain cells around as possible.
It Can Help You Avoid Terrible Diseases Like Dementia, Diabetes, And Alzheimer's
I am sort of piggy backing off of the previous point here. The high antioxidant content in cocoa once again plays a huge role in shielding the brain – this time from age-related damage.
The unfortunate reality is that the human body has an expiration date. Our organs will deteriorate as we age and there is not anything we can do to avoid it. But, there are plenty of ways to delay it and it turns out that eating dark chocolate is one of those ways. The antioxidants within cocoa have been found to greatly diminish one's chances of developing dementia.
This is believed to be the case because of their aforementioned ability to shield brain cells from damage caused by oxidation. In addition to that, these amazing antioxidants have been shown to decrease the body's immune system's response to insulin. This is important because when the immune system starts reacting to insulin within the body, it causes not only diabetes but also Alzheimer's disease.
Consuming all of the antioxidants contained within cocoa will help prevent your immune system from developing a resistance to insulin and thus greatly reduce your chances of developing both diabetes and Alzheimer's. After hearing for years about how eating chocolate will make you fat and diabetic, it sure is surprising and refreshing to hear that it can now reduce your chances of becoming diabetic.
It Can Help You Take In And Retain Knowledge Much More Efficiently
Remember those flavanols I kept talking about earlier? If you do not, you should start eating some dark chocolate because your memory does not seem to be all that good. All jokes aside, flavanols are just one type of many flavonoids that are contained within cocoa.
And these flavonoids tend to build up in the part of the brain responsible for taking in knowledge and remembering it. And when they build up there, they significantly enhance the brain function in that area – thus making you more able to learn things and remember things. Have some dark chocolate and then go ahead and read this article again and perhaps you will remember flavanols when you get to this point.
On top of that, cocoa also contains a lot of caffeine. And caffeine is not only good for making you bounce off the walls with energy, but it can also enhance your brain's ability to learn new things and focus on what you are learning. There is a reason that a lot of college students drink coffee and take caffeine supplements during their studies.
It Can Help You Lose Weight
I give to you the icing on the surprise cake – eating chocolate can actually help you lose weight. I think that after reading this article, you will be immune to any future surprises due to how many times this article blew your mind.
But it is true. The caffeine content in cocoa will help greatly speed up your metabolism. And when your metabolism is sped up, it allows more the calories that you have consumed throughout the day to be burnt off as energy and thus, much less are stored as fat and contribute to your body weight.
It Can Help You Become Smarter
There have been tons of scientific studies that have looked into cocoa's effects on the brain after consumption. And many of the findings have already been laid out in this article. But I think perhaps the most exciting finding to be yielded from these studies is the finding that eating cocoa can increase one's intelligence.
This is due to the fact that cocoa has been found to increase the neuroplasticity of the brain. This means that the brain is more able to develop and change throughout life. It is able to form new neural connections which means it is able to adapt and learn new things.
All of these factors contribute to a much smarter you. And lest we forget the benefits I talked about earlier like being able to make you more focused and able to retain more knowledge.
Wrapping It All Up…
As you can see, eating chocolate, more specifically cocoa-rich dark chocolate, can provide your body a lot of health benefits. It may seem unfathomable to many that consuming chocolate can have such a profound effect on our lives and even more unfathomable the fact that it is a profoundly positive effect.
But it is all true and is backed by a lot of science. It is time to destigmatize consuming chocolate – or at least destigmatize consuming all chocolate. Because processed chocolate is still bad for you. However, natural cocoa-rich chocolate is not.