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5 Surprising Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

December 28, 2013

dark chocolate 4In study after study research is showing that dark chocolate has a whole host of health benefits. For example, you’ve undoubtedly  heard how dark chocolate can give you energy, and improve your mood.

Here are five health benefits of dark chocolate that just might surprise you.

Dark chocolate:

1. Makes you slim

Even though chocolate is loaded with calories, it contains ingredients that may favor weight loss rather than fat synthesis. Researchers have discovered that adults who consumed chocolate frequently had a lower BMI than those who didn’t. And, the number of calories decreases as the percentage of raw cacao in the dark chocolate increases.

2.  Makes you smarter

Dark chocolate is rich in chemical compounds called flavonoids, which has been found to boost brain activity. Cognitive skills are enhanced when flavonoids create new sets of neurons in the brain. These new neurons assist in the formation of new memories, as well as improving blood flow to the brain.

3. Prevents wrinkles

Topical creams, lotions, and even cosmetic treatments by physicians, can only go so far in making your skin appear younger.  For real sustainable results you need to look to your diet.

Free radicals in our environment are some of the most extreme reasons why wrinkles appear in the skin. To fight free radicals, your diet should contain many sources of antioxidants.

While fruits and vegetables are good sources of antioxidants, dark chocolate has actually been found to contain higher percentages of antioxidants than even “superfoods” such as blueberries.

4. Slows down muscle aging

Recent studies are showing that the plant compound, epicatechin, found in dark chocolate, stimulates the same muscle response as does vigorous exercise.  A type of antioxidant compound, epicatechin can help slow down muscle aging as well as improve lean muscle mass.

5. Helps you live longer

There is antidotal evidence that dark chocolate can help you live longer. The oldest verified human being to have lived to 122 years old, Jeanne Calment, gave her daily consumption of dark chocolate credit for her longevitiy.

And now scientists are finding that the high percentage of antioxidants in raw cacao may very well be the key that does help you live longer.

This power-pack of antioxidants helps fight disease as well as cuts your risk for heart disease.

For the health benefits of chocolate be sure you eat dark chocolate which is listed as 70% or higher. The percentage indicates the amount of raw cacao in the product, which is what contains the compounds that give you these wonderful health benefits.

Photo Credit: livestrong.com


Why You Should Eat and Drink High-Cacao Dark Chocolate – Part 1

December 20, 2013

Roasted Cacao BeansIf you follow our blog and our Facebook posts you’ve noted that we are excited whenever a new study comes out that supports other research regarding the health benefits of cacao and dark chocolate.

Finally the experts endorse a food that is so tasty that we feel almost decadent eating it, yet at the same time turns out to be oh-so-good for us.

The more studies that are done the more detailed is our understanding of just what amazing things cacao can do for our bodies.

Nutritionist and fitness expert Mark Sisson explains it as well as we’ve ever seen, and and we are reprinting his discussion of the health benefits of cacao here.

The article will be in two parts so you will get all of his great information:

The truth is that you should probably be eating dark chocolate on at least a semi-regular basis because, as it turns out, it is very good for you.

Dark chocolate is healthy.

Dark chocolate is great –  the perfect storm of flavor, flavonoids, and fat.  It tastes really good, comes loaded with polyphenols, and cocoa butter is a great source of saturated and monosaturated fat.

I am going to explicitly outline the myriad health benefits that cacao offers.

1. Dark chocolate contains healthy fats.

Cocoa butter, which is extracted from the cacao bean and incorporated into most reputable dark chocolate bars, is mostly monounsaturated and saturated fat, with very little polyunsaturated fat.  And most of that saturated fat is stearic acid, widely known for having neutral effects on LDL (the bad cholesterol).

2. Dark chocolate contains lots of polyphenols, particularly flavanols.

When it comes to polyphenol content and antioxidant capacity, cacao trounces the “superfruits” acai, pomegranate, cranberry, and blueberry.

The most studied polyphenol in cacao is epicatechin, a flavanol that is quite potent and healthful.

What when the square of polyphenol-rich dark chocolate melts on the tongue, is swallowed, digested, and incorporated into the body? What are the actual health benefits of consuming high-cacao content dark chocolate?  Read on –

3. Dark chocolate and blood pressure.

Epidemiological studies (the study of the causes and effects of health in specific populations) pretty consistently show that dark chocolate consumption is related to lower blood pressure readings, for example among the Kuna Indians living in Panama, and the elderly Dutch.

These findings led to controlled studies by researchers in the medical and nutrition fields.

For example, one study found that fifteen days of eating dark chocolate lowered blood pressure  (and improved insulin sensitivity) in healthy subjects. Cacao consumption also improved arterial flow in smokers.

Another study used flavanol-rich cacao to increase nitric oxide production in healthy humans which dilated the blood vessels thus lowering blood pressure.

Still another study found that eating dark chocolate improved circulation directly to the heart.


Source: MarksDailyApple

Disclaimer: Neither Mark Sisson nor Mayesa has received remuneration for the publication of this guest blog, nor is there product endorsement.