Chocolate is the ultimate comfort food, a sure-fire stand-by in times of stress, a reliable source of consolation when life has let us down, and a mood-enhancer and romance-inducer in more positive circumstances. But is it at all healthy? If you scoff lots of it, obviously not. But there are a host of medically proven ways in which chocolate — good chocolate, which is to say dark chocolate, with a cocoa percentage of around seventy per cent or more — really is good for us. So let’s have a look on 5 health benefits of Dark Chocolate.
1. Reduces Blood Pressure
Eating a little dark chocolate each day may be good for the heart. People who ate dark chocolate or cocoa had blood pressure readings that were 2 millimeters of mercury lower than those who ate little or no chocolate. This means that a blood pressure reading of 120/80, for example, dropped to 118/78. This is a small decrease, and scientists say that though chocolate will certainly not replace blood pressure medicines, it may play some role.
2. Boosts Brain Power
Dark chocolate has developed a reputation—a good one! Chocolate benefits for brain health in particular are widely accepted, so much so that chocolate is being called the latest “brain food.” According to a study done at University of Nottingham, consuming dark chocolate can boost blood flow in the brain for up to three hours. This, in turn, improves short-term memory and general alertness levels for short periods.
3. Keeps Skin Healthy
Many people assume that chocolate is bad for your skin, or that chocolate can cause eczema breakouts. Chocolate works with your gut bacteria to lessen inflammation in your heart. It also protects your skin from drying out and sunburn.
4. Controls Blood Sugar
The cocoa in dark chocolate can also help prevent diabetes. A small Italian study done in 2005 found that regular consumption of dark chocolate increases insulin sensitivity, thereby reducing risk for diabetes.
5. Prevents Stroke
Eating dark chocolate in moderation regularly can even lower the chance of stroke in later life. This is due to its high level of flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. Flavonoids can reduce blood stickiness and prevent blood clotting, which in turn helps stave off heart attacks and strokes.