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Proven Health Benefits

Proven Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Pretty much all of us love chocolate, but it can be detrimental to your health. The chocolate that we are normally accustomed to can lead to health problems like diabetes, weight gain and other diseases that you want to avoid. That’s because the chocolate that most of us are eating is milk chocolate and is packed with too much sugar. However, there’s a way you can get your chocolate fix while also helping your health.

In recent years, dark chocolate has seen a rise in popularity after it was classified as a superfood. Since dark chocolate contains more cocoa butter (which is good) and a reduced amount of milk, it has a lot of benefits. Next time you want to eat chocolate, try going for the dark variety. Here are some of the reasons why you should make that switch.

Good for the Heart

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When we talk about dark chocolate, you want to make sure that it contains at least 70 percent cocoa, if not more. The first benefit that it brings is increased heart health, which studies have shown can reduce heart disease by nearly 40 percent. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants known as polyphenols that allow your blood to flow more freely.

That doesn’t mean that you should be eating as much chocolate as possible, but one or two ounces per day can really help. It also means that you will be controlling your cholesterol, as bad cholesterol numbers can be lowered while the good cholesterol can be raised with a daily dose of dark chocolate, which prevents hardening of your arteries.

Nutritious Treat

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There aren’t many people that naturally consider chocolate to be filled with nutrients, but the dark version is very much packed. Dark chocolate contains a healthy amount of dietary fiber, which can help your body’s digestive system improve. There are also vitamins that include vitamin K, vitamin B12 and niacin just to name a few.

Manganese and iron are the most prevalent nutrients to be found within dark chocolate, making up nearly your daily recommended intake. Other significant minerals include zinc, copper, potassium and phosphorous. For those that are trying to build muscle, you can also count on plenty of protein to be found.

Sugar Sugar

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Without much of the sugar that you find in milk chocolate, there is still some to be found in dark chocolate. However, you can help control your body’s blood sugar with a small daily amount of dark chocolate. Your body will be able to control your insulin more efficiently by fighting off free radicals via flavonoids.

Chocolate bars tend to be very high on the glycemic index, but that’s not the case for dark chocolate. You have probably felt a blood sugar spike after eating milk chocolate, but that won’t be the case with the dark version. It has even been found to help control diabetes, which is welcome news for diabetics that crave chocolate. In fact, taking a daily amount of dark chocolate can reduce insulin resistance in just over a week.

Skin of Your Teeth

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Eating chocolate naturally makes you feel better as it’s a comfort food (and dark chocolate helps to relax by increasing blood flow and reducing stress hormones), but it can also make you look better, too. Milk chocolate can make you gain weight or have your skin break out, but dark chocolate helps in both of those areas.

Teeth are helped out by dark chocolate thanks to its theobromine content. Not only does theobromine strengthen tooth enamel, but it can help you get over a cough. Thanks to the antioxidant properties of dark chocolate, you can also kill some of the bacteria found in your mouth that leads to disease.

Your skin also sees the benefits from dark chocolate, especially if you spend a lot of time out in the sun. With better hydration thanks to your increased blood flow, your body will have a better resistance to UV rays. One study showed that it took twice as long to become sunburned for patients that ate dark chocolate for three months compared to those that ate regular chocolate. This doesn’t mean that you should lie on the beach all day eating dark chocolate, but it’s a good benefit to keep in your pocket.

Dropping the Pounds

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Chocolate isn’t a typical part of a weight loss plan, but dark chocolate should be added if you’re looking to shed a few pounds. Though dark chocolate can be a bit high in calories, taking a small amount each day can help you keep some of the cravings away. Not only that, but your blood sugar being controlled helps your metabolism.

Dark chocolate makes for a perfect dessert as you don’t experience sugar crashes, but will still be able to hit that sweet craving you had. Just know that there are 170 calories in just a one ounce piece of dark chocolate. That’s only about 40 calories less than an entire Crunch bar that is 0.4 ounces more.

Summing it Up

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Dark chocolate can improve your heart health, make your skin more resistant to the sun’s harmful rays and even help you lose a little weight in the process. Dark chocolate also isn’t all that expensive, though compared to milk chocolate it costs a fortune. It might sound too good to be true, so there have to be some negatives from it, right?

There still is plenty of sugar to be found in dark chocolate, and some saturated fat (though lower than milk chocolate). This means that you have to really regulate how much you’re eating or else you put yourself at risk for fast weight gain and blood sugar problems. There is also a high amount of caffeine to be found since dark chocolate is primarily made from cocoa, so you might get jittery from eating too much.

All this means is that you can feel free to indulge on chocolate once every day or two, but it doesn’t mean that you should eat an entire two ounce bar a couple of times per day. Moderation is key when it comes to dark chocolate, and doing so will make sure that you see all the great benefits that it can bring.

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