5 More Reasons To Eat Dark Chocolate

5 More Reasons To Eat Dark Chocolate

It is well known that dark chocolate is the healthier chocolate but a whole host of scientific studies are now significantly confirming this sentiment. Milk chocolate is the common go-to as it does dominate the market of over-the-counter (OTC) candy. However, as more people show interest in embracing healthier choices, dark chocolate may soon surpass the often over-processed milk chocolate industry. 

Consider dark chocolate as a healthy snack that pairs well with red wine (another antioxidant powerhouse) as well as figs, cheese, nuts, fruits and coffee. These 5 more reasons to eat dark chocolate continue to prove the incredible effects of this plant-based candy on the human body.

Nitric Oxide Booster, Blood Pressure Reducer

Dark chocolate is linked to an increase in nitric oxide production. Nitric oxide (NO) has been linked to vasodilation (pronounced ‘vay-zo-dial-ation’) which is the opening of blood vessels to allow more blood flow. More blood flow means more oxygen delivered to vital organs resulting in: 

  • Improved stamina
  • Reduction of erectile dysfunction
  • Enhanced muscle performance
  • Increased nutrient transportation
  • Anti-inflammatory response
  • Fatigue support

According to a paper posted by the Harvard School of Public Health, the polyphenols (micronutrients that naturally occur in plants) which are found in cocoa, the main ingredient in dark chocolate, raise NO levels. It was stated that:

“Cocoa is rich in plant chemicals called flavanols that may help to protect the heart. Dark chocolate contains up to 2-3 times more flavanol-rich cocoa solids than milk chocolate. Flavanols have been shown to support the production of nitric oxide (NO) in the endolethium (the inner cell lining of blood vessels) that helps to relax the blood vessels and improve blood flow, thereby lowering blood pressure.”

Fights Bad Cholesterol

The Journal of Nutrition published results of a study that researched the effects of cocoa powder on cholesterol. It was found that,

“In these subjects, plasma LDL [bad] cholesterol, oxidized LDL [a potentially harmful type of cholesterol], and apo B concentrations [LDL and triglyceride concentrations] decreased, and the plasma HDL [good] cholesterol concentration increased, relative to baseline in the low-, middle-, and high-cocoa groups. The results suggest that polyphenolic substances derived from cocoa powder [like dark chocolate] may contribute to a reduction in LDL cholesterol, an elevation in HDL cholesterol, and the suppression of oxidized LDL.”

Natural Sun Block

Before you step into the blinding rays of a seasonal sun, you might want to eat some dark chocolate. It may come as a surprise, but maintaining a dark chocolate protocol could protect your skin from sun damage. 

A study by German researchers, published in The Journal of Nutrition stated,

“Evaluation of the skin surface showed a significant decrease of skin roughness and scaling in the high flavanol cocoa group compared with those at wk 12. Dietary flavanols from cocoa contribute to endogenous photoprotection, improve dermal blood circulation, and affect cosmetically relevant skin surface and hydration variables.”

Prevent Dementia

Dementia can afflict anyone but more studies are showing the benefits of consuming plant-based food choices (as well as healthy sleep and exercise) as a good potential preventative. Dark chocolate fits right into this profile showing good data on supporting healthy cognitive function. 

The Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology

“A pilot study evaluated the relationship between cerebral blood flow and a single acute dose (450 mg flavanols) of flavanol-rich cocoa and showed that flavanol-rich cocoa can increase the cerebral blood flow to gray matter, suggesting the potential of cocoa flavanols for treatment of vascular impairment, including dementia…”

Daily Dosage

It is important to understand that dark chocolate is technically considered a candy and that too much consumption of this super cocoa can be more detrimental rather than helpful. This means that weight gain can occur given the high calories of dark chocolate as well as an increase in insulin production which also leads to weight gain and inflammation when consumed in excess.

Very Well Health reported the proper dark chocolate protocol to be, 

“A study of nearly 20,000 people, followed over a period of eight years, concluded that those who ate an average of 6 grams (0.2 ounces) of chocolate per day had a 39 percent lower risk of heart attack or stroke.”

These 5 more reasons to eat dark chocolate are evidence based results that support such a super food. It is important to note that the higher cocoa percentage the dark chocolate contains, the less sugar it will have. Less sugar means more beneficial effects.