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What Are the Health Advantages of Dark Chocolate?

By Alexis Mills

Not only is dark chocolate a delicious treat, it's also loaded with nutrients to help your health. What more could you ask for? Well, it's important to note that this "healthy" chocolate refers specifically to dark chocolate that has at least 70 percent cacao and is not the chocolate that's laden with sugar. Dark chocolate is loaded with fiber and minerals with only a moderate amount of sugar and it  has extensive health benefits.

Source of Antioxidants

Dark chocolate and cocoa are loaded with antioxidants, even more so than most fruit. Eating a good source of antioxidants fights against free radicals in the body that play a role in many different diseases. So, eating dark chocolate can prevent and protect your body from a large range of disease.

Improve Blood Flow 

If you have a high blood pressure problem, dark chocolate can actually act to lower it. A compound found in dark chocolate sends signals to the arteries to relax, which helps blood flow.

Reduce Heart Disease Risk

Eating dark chocolate has been shown to reduce stress hormones in the blood. Stress is linked to heart disease, but even more technical, it can lower plaque buildup in the arteries. The only way to make sure that it effectively works is to eat dark chocolate two or more times per week.

Protect Your Skin from the Sun

The compounds in dark chocolate can protect your skin from sun damage, improve blood flow to the skin, and increase skin hydration. If you are planning on spending a lot of time under the sun, load up on chocolate for a few weeks prior for extra protection. Now this does not mean that you can eat dark chocolate instead of putting on sunscreen. Think of dark chocolate as an extra tool to protect from sun damage to the skin.

Improve Brain Function

Since dark chocolate increases blood flow, it also affects the brain and can improve brain function. This can significantly improve mental impairment and improve several risk factors for other diseases.

Lower Risk of Stroke

For people who suffer from risk of strokes, it's been shown that consuming 2 ounces of dark chocolate per week lowers the risk of having another stroke.

There is evidence out there that backs up the powerful health effects of cocoa. The important thing to understand is that just because there are many health benefits doesn't mean you can overindulge. It is a high-calorie treat, so learning to savor it in small quantities is way to receive the best benefits.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Rocklin, Calif. 

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