Dark chocolate is one of the most popular foods in the world, not only for its pleasant aroma and delicious flavor, but also because it’s been shown to be highly beneficial for both physical and emotional health.
Sometimes eating chocolate can cause guilty feelings in people who aren’t aware of its many benefits, and who still believe the myth that it will make them “fat.” But no one should feel bad about eating small quantities of dark chocolate in a day, because instead of packing on the pounds or otherwise harming your body, it actually has properties that are quite good for you.
What happens in your body when you eat dark chocolate?
Because it’s rich in antioxidants, dark chocolate is one of the best foods for preventing the accumulation of free radicals and the premature aging of cells. This is really important, because it keeps toxic substances from building up in the body that can negatively affect your health in many ways. It also promotes youthful cells, so it’s often recommended as part of a skincare regimen.
Shortly after you eat dark chocolate, your energy levels increase, which improves your ability to focus on your day to day activities.
When you eat a small amount of dark chocolate every day, your risk of a heart attack or other cardiovascular problems is reduced, thanks to the high content of antioxidants.After you eat dark chocolate you’ll also notice an improvement in your mood and decreased symptoms of depression, because this food contains a chemical known as anandamide, which is responsible for triggering feelings of well-being.
In times of stress, anxiety, distress, or just when you’re in a bad mood, eating chocolate can act as a natural sedative to help you relax, thanks to the fact that it stimulates the body’s production of serotonin.
Dark chocolate contains high levels of flavonoids, which are antioxidants that protect the skin from damage caused by harmful UV rays (while it can’t protect your outer layer of skin from sun damage like sunscreen will, it does reduce the internal cellular impacts).
Other important reasons to eat dark chocolate
In addition to all the benefits we just mentioned, eating dark chocolate in moderate portions has other positive effects that are worth listing here:
- Helps fight and eliminate fatigue
- Makes you feel satisfied, keeping you from consuming more calories that your body doesn’t need
- High levels of magnesium help repair DNA, build new cellular tissue, and relax the muscles
- Stimulates good blood flow, avoiding heart problems and the formation of varicose veins
- The calcium content, in addition to being good for your nails and teeth, can also prevent problems with osteoporosis
- Its zinc content can prevent and control anemia
- Helps keep joints and tendons healthy, thanks to high levels of phosphorus, calcium, and natural antibiotics
- Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids
- May help prevent colon cancer, problems with high cholesterol, and other chronic disorders
- Supplies healthy fats to improve the overall function of your nervous system, and prevent problems with high triglyceride levels
- Theobromine, a component of dark chocolate, could help reduce the activity of nerves in your throat that trigger coughing
How should you consume dark chocolate in a healthy way?To get 100% of the benefits of dark chocolate, it’s important to choose your product well and try to eat the darkest varieties that are available. While these may be more bitter and not taste as delicious as milk chocolate, they have more concentrated benefits. However, you can also choose semisweet chocolates that taste less bitter but still have less sugar than the more common milk chocolate varieties.
Your consumption of chocolate should be moderate, and always choose dark chocolates to get the greatest benefits. Today you can find many different varieties of chocolate in stores that, while they taste delicious, they lack the benefits of dark chocolate and are probably also loaded with ingredients that can have a negative effect on your body.
Those who are generally in good overall heath can enjoy up to two servings of dark chocolate a day, based on their diet and level of physical activity. For special cases like people with diabetes, or those who are overweight or obese, it’s best to talk with your doctor before choosing to add dark chocolate to your daily diet.