7 surprising benefits of dark chocolate
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Dark chocolate doesn't just taste great - having an ounce or two a few times a week can actually lead to significant health benefits.
With a higher concentration of antioxidants and sugar content than milk chocolate, the darker the chocolate, the better.
Here are some health benefits of indulging in dark chocolate:
1. Packed with nutrients: One serving of dark chocolate contains fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.
2. Loaded with Antioxidants: Dark chocolate is bursting with a wide variety of powerful antioxidants, which protect against dangerous diseases and neurodegenerative diseases. Antioxidants protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals, which are responsible for aging and diseases including cancer and Alzheimer’s.
3. Improves brain function: Cocoa or dark chocolate increase blood flow, which can improve brain function. It also contains stimulants like caffeine and theobromine are also linked to increased brain function in the short term.
4. Lower the risk of heart attack: Improved blood flow can lead to a small decrease in blood pressure, especially for those suffering from hypertension.
5. Cholesterol-lowering properties: Cocoa butter, found in most dark chocolate, contains oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat you would find in heart-healthy olive oil. Researchers are of the view this monounsaturated fat can actually raise your HDL, or good cholesterol.
6. Lowers the risk of stroke: A 2011 study by Swedish scientists found that women who consumed high amounts of chocolate — about two bars per week — had a 20 percent lower risk of stroke.
7. Protection against the harmful rays of the sun: Some studies suggest that the flavanols from cocoa can improve blood flow to the skin, working to protect it from sun damage.