Chocolate, specifically dark chocolate, has joined the ranks as one of the super foods that can help lift your spirits, reduce your waistline, increase your energy, improve your heart health, and more.
Cacao – chocolate’s secret.
The secret to chocolate’s health benefits is cacao, a bean-like seed from which cocoa and chocolate are made. Chockfull of vitamins, minerals and antioxidant flavonoids, cacao also contains chemicals such as theobromine and phenylethylamine.
These ingredients help us fight disease and keep us healthy. For example, theobromine acts as a mild stimulant as well as a diuretic, helping you rid your body of toxins. Along with phenylethylamine, it also elevates your mood and gives you a sense of feeling good.
On its own, cacao tastes bitter, chalky and unpleasant. So to make it tasty, sugar, milk and butter are added and therein lies the catch. Too much sweet and fat can undermine the health benefits.
For this reason, you need to choose wisely and recognize that with cocoa a little goes a long way. Limit the amount you eat to about two squares per day (1.5 to 3 ounces). Also, choose dark chocolate with 70 percent or more cacao to get the most health benefits. The higher the percentage of cacao means the greater the amount of antioxidants and flavonoids.
Dark Chocolate the super food.
The health-promoting benefits of chocolate have undergone a number of research studies. The findings suggest that eating small amounts may help:
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce the risk of heart attacks by reducing the risk of blood clots in a blood vessel
- Improve arterial blood flow, which is good for your heart
- Reduce anxiety by lowering the levels of stress-hormones released
- Reduce weight and lessening unhealthy food cravings
- Improve performance and alertness by increasing blood flow to the brain
- Increase insulin sensitivity and help prevent diabetes.
In addition, studies have suggested that it may also help relieve diarrhea, protect you from the harmful rays of the sun, and calm a cough better than codeine.
So enjoy and feel good about knowing that eaten in moderation, chocolate is good for your body and that is great for your health.