Ingredient Focus: Dark Chocolate

With Easter just around the corner, what better time to talk about the health benefits of dark chocolate. Yes, you heard correctly. Dark chocolate actually has some great health benefits and is regarded as a superfood! 

While this may come as a surprise to many, it isn’t a new discovery. Throughout history, cultures have been using cocoa to improve stamina, fight off diseases and reduce fatigue. 

If you’re still finding it hard to believe that your guilty pleasure could actually be a healthy habit, let’s delve into the science behind these claims. 

 

Everyone loves Antioxidants

 

Dark chocolate is a rich source of antioxidants. 

As we all know, antioxidants protect cells from free radical damage, which is a known cause of many diseases including heart disease and some cancers. 

While dark chocolate contains many antioxidant compounds, the hero ingredient here is flavonoids. Flavonoids have fantastic anti-inflammatory and anti-viral benefits. Dark chocolate even has more flavonoids and antioxidant activity than fruits. 

Remember - the darker the chocolate the better the health benefits. To get the most out of dark chocolate’s antioxidant benefits, choose a bar with at least 85% cacao content AND of course, make sure there is no added sugar. We love 100% dark chocolate, but it’s definitely an acquired taste...

 

Great for Heart Health

 

There is plenty of research that finds flavonoids within dark chocolate stimulate the artery lining to produce nitric oxide, which sends signals that cause the arteries to relax. This results in an improved blood flow and could help to decrease blood pressure. 

This vasodilation quality makes dark chocolate great for improved cardiovascular health. In addition to improved blood flow, the flavanols are able to lower LDL cholesterol 

 

The Mood Booster

 

How? Dark chocolate contains tryptophan, an amino acid that stimulates the production of serotonin; a feel-good chemical and a known antidepressant. The result? Feeling content and happy. 


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