By now, you may be familiar with the term “superfood” and the most popular kinds:
- Eggs Greek Yogurt
- Olive Oil
We left one out: dark chocolate.
What now? Chocolate? Superfood?
You read that correctly. Dark chocolate is on that list because it’s packed with nutrients and minerals that can make you healthier. Before we delve into that, it’s important to note the difference between dark and milk chocolate.
While both derive from the cacao plant, milk chocolate is made with butter, sugar, and milk and contains small quantities of cacao, the healthy stuff. Dark chocolate is the opposite with less of the filler and more of the cacao.
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of dark chocolate.
1. Rich in Minerals & Antioxidants
Dark chocolate is chock full of nutritious minerals like fiber, iron magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium. This may sound like a game of Periodic Table roulette, but this is the makeup of dark chocolate. The greater the cocoa percentage, the higher the concentration of these minerals.
Dark chocolate is also composed of antioxidants–those compounds you hear and read in ads that are never explained–which discourage oxidation, a chemical reaction that produces free radicals that like to attack your cells.
Compared to most foods, dark chocolate has an abundance of antioxidants.
2. Anti-inflammatory Properties
It seems that the bane of our healthy existence is inflammation. It makes the body vulnerable to many illnesses because it damages cells and tissues that protect us. Dark chocolate has strong anti-inflammatory properties that fortify our immune systems.
In fact, the results of two recent studies concluded that people who consumed dark chocolate with up to 84% cacao, experienced a boost in their immune systems, and those with type 2 diabetes saw significant reductions in inflammatory biomarkers.
3. Good for Cholesterol
High cholesterol puts you at risk for heart disease. There’s good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL). Dark chocolate is known to raise HDL and lower LDL levels because of its antioxidants. Remember those pesky free radicals? The antioxidants of dark chocolate helps cut them down.
4. Lowers Blood Pressure
Eating dark chocolate may lower your blood pressure to a healthier level. High blood pressure or hypertension can be damaging to your heart, and dark chocolate decreases it while improving blood flow. In yet another study, people who ate moderate amounts of dark chocolate experienced enhanced vascular system function.
It turns out that you can have your chocolate and eat it, too. Now, as with all foods, there are recommended serving portions to maximize the health benefits and to ensure you’re not defeating the purpose by consuming too many calories. Enjoy in moderation and bon dark chocolate-étit!