Boost the Health of Your Heart and More With Dark Chocolate

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Posted November 13, 2012 by Tiffany Weekes
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Boost the Health of Your Heart and More With Dark Chocolate
A large percentage of people enjoy eating chocolate on a regular basis and thankfully, there are various types to suit everyone’s palate. In recently years, experts have stated that the healthiest form of chocolate is a bar that contains 70 percent or more cocoa solids. The higher the cocoa solids, the more bitter the chocolate will be. Cacao nibs (raw chocolate containing up to 100 percent cocoa solids) are classed as a super food. Dark chocolate is not only lower in calories, but it has heart-friendly benefits. Some chocolate bars are high in protein and are perfect to eat before a workout. There are even sugar free chocolate bars available, suited toward diabetics and individuals on a low-calorie diet.

Dark Chocolate is Heart Friendly

In recent studies on the benefits of dark chocolate, it was discovered that consuming a small amount of chocolate several times per week could improve the health of your heart and lower high blood pressure. A small amount of dark chocolate can reduce the formation of blood clots, hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis) and improve blood flow.

Dark Chocolate is Abundant With Antioxidants

Antioxidants are necessary by the body and must be obtained through food and/or a vitamin/mineral supplement. Dietary experts often recommend obtaining antioxidants through the diet and dark chocolate is one such food that is abundant with antioxidants. Free radicals can put the body under stress and make it more susceptible to illness or disease. Consuming antioxidant rich foods, like dark chocolate, can slow down the aging process and prevent the risk of cancer.

Boost Brain Power With Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is abundant with many chemical compounds that act similar to endorphins, which are produced naturally during exercise. These feel good hormones improve the mood and cognitive health. Dark chocolate not only improves blood flow to the heart, but also to the brain to boost cognitive functions.

Dark chocolate contains the same chemical that the brain feels when it is in love. This feel-good chemical is known as Phenylethylamine (PEA). The endorphins release during the consumption of dark chocolate and only a small amount is necessary to feel its effects. All types of chocolate contain caffeine, which is mildly stimulating and can improve the metabolism, but dark chocolate contains less caffeine than a cup of coffee. In truth, an eight-ounce cup of coffee contains approximately 200 milligrams of caffeine, compared to just 27 milligrams in a 1.5-ounce bar of chocolate. This makes dark chocolate a safe alternative to melt into hot milk for an evening treat.

Dark Chocolate Rates Low on the Glycaemic Index

English: Dark chocolate. Español: Chocolate negro.

English: Dark chocolate. Español: Chocolate negro. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

White and milk chocolate have a higher rating on the glycaemic index (GI). The higher the food on the GI, the further rapid the energy hits the body, but the greater the risk of a crash in blood sugar, which may lead to fatigue and moodiness. Dark chocolate supports healthy blood vessels and prevents the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Darker varieties of chocolate contain flavonoids, which help the cells to function normally by reducing insulin resistance. This benefits the body and encourages it to use its insulin reserves efficiently. Dark chocolate is a low GI food, so it will fuel the blood glucose levels far better than any other variety of chocolate. The benefit of eating low glycaemic foods throughout the day can be felt in sustained energy and a reduction in lethargy.

Dark Chocolate Contains Theobromine

Theobromine is a chemical compound abundant in dark chocolate known to harden tooth enamel. A bar of dark chocolate contains around 10 grams per kilogram of theobromine compared to only 1.5 grams per kilogram in milk chocolate. Proper dental hygiene, together with moderate intake of dark chocolate, can prevent cavities and support healthy gums and teeth. This chemical compound can suppress coughs, and while it is mildly stimulating, it is not as potent as caffeine.

Dark Chocolate High in Vitamins and Minerals

Dark chocolate contains several vitamins and minerals that are necessary to support optimum health in the body. Dark chocolate contains high levels of iron, magnesium, copper and potassium. Iron protects the body against iron-deficiency anaemia; copper and potassium prevent the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, while magnesium defends the body from heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2-diabetes.

There are many different varieties of chocolate, but chocolite is sugar-free, high in protein and low in carbohydrates.