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Health Benefits of Chocolate

By Madhusudhan Tammisetti

Cocoa is the primary ingredient in dark chocolate that gives it its distinct taste and health benefits. Cocoa contains antioxidants and healthy chemicals such as flavonoids that have been associated with cancer prevention, a decrease in inflammation in the circulatory system, and relieving high blood pressure.

Healthy Heart

Many studies show that the flavonoids in chocolate may help your arteries and veins stay supple. Several studies followed 114,000 subjects who were offered a few servings of dark chocolate per week. The studies found that the probability of having a heart attack was decreased by about 37 percent, whereas when they consumed more chocolate, the risks of getting a stroke were 29 percent lower.

May Improve Memory as You Age

Studies indicate that significant improvement was seen in their cognitive functions when older adults were given cocoa extracts high in flavonoids. The only drawback is that the percentage of these cocoa flavonols is decreased because of the addition and processing of sugar, eggs, and milk.

May Lower Cholesterol Levels

According to an article published in the Journal of Nutrition, when subjects were served with dark chocolate bars with plant flavonols and sterols, there's a considerable decrease seen in their cholesterol levels.

Alzheimer's Disease

When Alzheimer's disease strikes, the brain's neural pathways may be damaged, triggering some mental functions' failure. Lavado, an extract of cocoa, may lessen the damage done to these neural pathways.

May Help With Your Workout

Epicatechin is another flavonol found in chocolate. This substance was given to mice, and they were much stronger and fitter than other mice that were on water alone. Researchers say you have to restrict the quantity to just about half of a square of chocolate per day to achieve the maximum results from your exercise. It might reverse the positive benefits if you have too many.

Very Nutritious

You may get a nutritious snack when you select chocolate with a high amount of cocoa content (75 to 85 percent). Take the average chocolate bar of 100 grams. It contains almost all of the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for copper and manganese. It comprises more than half of your RDA for magnesium and two thirds (67 percent) of your iron RDA. It has about 10 percent fiber, too. There is plenty of selenium, zinc, and potassium as well.

May Lower Blood Pressure

Taking the right amount of nitric oxide in the body may help the arteries relax. This, in turn, may help relieve some pressure off them and may eventually result in lower blood pressure count. Flavonols in dark chocolate produce the vital nitric oxide that may give positive results in controlling blood pressure.

Now you know the health benefits of eating dark chocolate, why not pick a piece, and enjoy it?

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Summerville, S.C.

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