Okay ladies, before you go out and buy a bunch of Hershey’s chocolate bars, you will want to read this entire article! Yes, specific kinds of chocolate do have health benefits but not all chocolate is healthy.
Here are some highlights about the health benefits of dark chocolate:
- A 2009 study in the Journal of Proteome Research found that subjects who consumed 40 grams of dark chocolate every day for a two-week period had reduced urinary excretion of stress hormones, including cortisol and catecholamines, indicating reduced production of these hormones in the body. Let’s hear it for less stress!
To Eat…or Just Smell?
In a 2010 study published in Regulatory Peptides researchers found that eating dark chocolate and even just smelling dark chocolate had a direct impact on gastrointestinal hormones – those that influence appetite. Female subjects who ate or smelled dark chocolate showed hormonal signs of appetite suppression. Merely smelling the dark chocolate produced a satisfied/full response in subjects.
Milk or Dark Chocolate?
- When it comes to grabbing a milk chocolate or a dark chocolate bar, choose the latter. Dark chocolate offers more health benefits than milk or white chocolate. The higher concentration of cocoa means that dark chocolate contains more substances with positive health properties.
I Need My Heart Medication!
- The Cleveland Clinic found that the antioxidant flavanols found in dark chocolate help to reduce your risk for heart disease. Also, in a 2008 study published in The Journal of Nutrition, scientists showed that eating two cocoa-rich dark chocolate bars per day can lower both cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
A Fan of Flavonoids
- Flavowhat? Cocoa contains the polyphenols known as flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. They soak up harmful free radicals from the body. Free radical damage may lead to a broad range of age-related conditions, from arthritis to Alzheimer’s disease. Flavonoids from chocolate may help improve brain function in older people and generally improve the flexibility of arteries, which helps prevent blood clots and strokes.
So, now you know some of the health benefits of dark chocolate. Just be sure to buy from a good source, preferably organic. Below are a few companies you can try out. Let us know your favorite in a comment below!
- http://getunreal.com – Great for kids. Not 100% organic.
- http://www.drjohns.com/xylitol-chocolate-s/55.htm – Not organic, but sugar free. Xylitol is used to sweeten so great way to enjoy chocolate without sugar.
- http://www.wildernessfamilynaturals.com/category/chocolate-products-raw-cacao.php – To experience chocolate in it’s most unprocessed and purest form, try raw cacao nibs or powder. Very healthy (even more healthy than dark chocolate) and can be used in all kinds of recipes including smoothies. It is not sweet and has a slight bitter taste, but can be added to other things that are sweet to give a chocolatey taste.
If you consider yourself a chocolate connoisseur, you may enjoy the book “Naked Chocolate” by David Wolfe and Shazzie.