For years and years, people were taught to put “chocolate” on the list of dietary no-no’s. Milk chocolate and other forms like it which have a ton of sugar, artificial ingredients and very little chocolate are certainly not very good for the body! However, dark chocolate or cacao beans in the raw have very little natural sugar or fat and are extremely healthy. In fact, many nutritional databases list these forms as a superfood, right up there with other nutritional rock stars like sweet potatoes and kale. Read on to find out more about the amazing health benefits to be had from regular consumption of dark chocolate or raw cacao.
Promotes Heart Health
Heart disease remains the number one cause of death in America – and eating dark chocolate or raw cacao on a regular basis is a great way to help prevent it. Researchers in Boston have shown that regular consumption of dark chocolate has the ability to regulate high blood pressure levels because of its high flavonoid content. Another study – this one out of Penn State – showed that dark chocolate could also help to lower bad LDL cholesterol levels. Both studies are good news for those concerned about heart health.
Decreases Colon Cancer Risk
The lining of the digestive tract – and particularly of the colon – is actually a rather delicate and sensitive membrane which can easily be damaged by toxins, inflammatory agents and other unwanted substances in the body. Dark chocolate, however, with its strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can help to reduce the risk of colon cancer development since it protects this important lining.
Regulates Blood Sugar
Okay, normally most people don’t think of chocolate as a very diabetic-friendly food! But just remember that dark chocolate tends to be low in sugar (though it is always important to read the label to make sure) and that the catechins found in dark chocolate have a regulatory effect on blood sugar and also protect the body from the consequences of blood sugar levels that are too high.
Lowers Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
In the aging American society, the cost of Alzheimer’s diseases ranges in the billions of dollars annually, mostly due to the long-term, round-the-clock care that many Alzheimer’s patients require. That is why the search is on for natural ways to prevent it happening in the first place. One of these appears to be dark chocolate! A study from Harvard Medical School found that drinking two cups of chocolate a day can help older people with thinking skills including learning and memory. It appears that this is part is because chocolate is able to increase blood flow to the brain.
So makes desserts count! Instead of reaching for an ooey-gooey piece of cake that’s loaded with sugar and trans fat, reach for some dark chocolate instead! Even though it tastes rich and decadent, it has definitely earned its place as a superfood because of all the amazing health benefits it provides!
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