Sunday, August 19, 2012

9 Delicious Reasons To Eat Dark Chocolate

I've done blogs before about the health benefits associated with eating dark chocolate, of consuming dark chocolate and red wine, of drinking red wine (are we sensing a pattern here?)

We all know how sinfully good chocolate tastes and there have been enough studies lately to alleviate the guilt feelings about indulging the temptation. And we've also read that it's the antioxidant-rich dark chocolate—the darker the better—that provides those benefits rather than the sweeter fat-laden milk chocolate.

Well…I recently came across another study about the healthy qualities attributed to dark chocolate. More positive information and reinforcement equals less guilt! :)

It Fights Free Radicals
When we eat plant derived foods (chocolate comes from the cacao plant) rich in flavonoids and antioxidants, those benefits are passed on to us. Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules thought to be responsible for aging and also some diseases. Antioxidants protect us from damage caused by free radicals.

It Prevents Heart Disease
Dark chocolate's most researched benefit is its role in preventing heart disease. British researchers found that people who ate the most dark chocolate weekly had a 37 percent lower risk of any heart disease than those who ate the least amount of dark chocolate.

It Decreases Stroke Risk
Swedish researchers found that women who ate 2 candy bars a week had a 20 percent lower risk of stroke. A similar study by British researchers fund that people who ate more chocolate were 30 percent less likely to have a stroke. Researchers added that more study is needed to determine exact amounts and how they impact stroke risk.

It Raises Good Cholesterol
Cholesterol-lowering superfood is another label that's been attached to dark chocolate thanks to the cocoa butter which contains oleic acid, the same fat found in heart-healthy olive oil. Scientists believe this can raise your HDL (good cholesterol).

It Lowers Blood Pressure
German researchers found that eating chocolate may help lower blood pressure and cardiovascular disease risk. Australian researchers also found noticeable blood pressure benefits. As with cholesterol, researchers believe more study is required.

It Improves Vision
It seems that dark chocolate has something in common with carrots. Test subjects performed better on vision tests after eating the dark chocolate.

It's a Mood Booster
It's not wishful thinking or imagination. Some research supports the idea that chocolate really can improve someone's mood. It's the fatty acids in dark chocolate that do this. More research needs to be done, but studies show that chocolate can make you feel happier and improve your mood.

It Helps Prevent Cancer
There is limited evidence, but it's growing that dark chocolate may play a role in cancer prevention. Preliminary studies in Europe, Asia, and North America show that people who eat many flavonoids or a lot of antioxidant-rich chocolate develop fewer cancers than those who don't.

It May Help You Live Longer
A Harvard University study found that one or two doses of dark chocolate per week could even help you live longer. There is currently more research being done to determine the exact role chocolate plays in longevity.

So…once again Science has given us permission to consume dark chocolate. For medicinal purposes only, of course. :)


Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Samantha,
Great blog. As a chocolate devotee, or may be addict is a better description, your blog was music to my ears.



Samantha Gentry said...

Margaret: It's always a great feeling when you can find 'facts' to support what you already want to believe. :)

Thanks for commenting.

Emily Wood said...

I love this, was thinking to myself last night that I need to stop eating so much chocolate, but this just seems like a great excuse to carry on! ;)

Samantha Gentry said...

Emily: Definitely carry on! (But not to extreme measures) :)

Thanks for stopping by.

LisaRayns said...

This is great news! Now, if I could only prove Dr. Pepper was good for me too, I'd be set. Nice blog. I like your sexy covers and banner.

Maddy said...

My grandfather was an Irish GP and had a square of chocolate and a nip of whiskey every night - lived to a ripe and happy old age.

Debra St. John said...

This post was perfect timing. I just bought a bag of dark chocolate minis to keep in my desk for afternoon pick-me-ups!

Now I'm more convinced than ever I'm on the right track!

Samantha Gentry said...

Lisa: Thanks. I'm afraid I haven't seen any studies on the health benefits of Dr. Pepper. :)

My covers are courtesy of The Wild Rose Press. The banner is from my website.

Thanks for your comment.

Samantha Gentry said...

Maddy: Sounds like a good recipe for a long life!

Thanks for stopping by.

Samantha Gentry said...

Debra: Gotta love those afternoon pick-me-ups! And I'll bet some afternoons might require two pick-me-ups. :)

Thanks for your comment.