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Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Are you a chocolate lover? If you are, before you reach out for that tempting piece of chocolate candy bar or slice of chocolate cake, it’s important to know that not all forms of chocolate contain high levels of flavanols.

Flavanol is a naturally occurring antioxidant found in various types of plants. Its antioxidant qualities can be extremely important to maintaining a healthy body. Dark chocolate, comes from cacao plant, and cacao is extraordinarily rich in flavanols. Flavanols promote health by helping the body to deal with the presence of free radicals, lower blood pressure, boost blood flow, and reduce blood clots.

When eaten in moderation, dark chocolate offers the following health benefits:

1. Prevents Heart Disease: Flavonoids protect cells from free radicals – produced when the body breaks down food or is exposed to sunlight or smoke. Free radicals can cause cell damage that leads to heart disease. Flavonoids help to lower blood pressure and reduce LDL cholesterol (i.e. bad cholesterol).
2. Protects against UV Damage: Flavanoids found in dark chocolate may improve the skin’s ability protect against some types of skin damage, including UV-induced issues like sun burns. Flavonoids can also help to boost blood flow, increase oxygen saturation, and improve the skin’s hydration and complexion.

 3. Improves Mood: Dark chocolate stimulates the release of endorphins, natural hormones produced by the brain, that generates feelings of pleasure and promotes a sense of well being. Chocolate may also make a person feel better by directly interacting with the brain. One of the ingredients in chocolate is tryptophan, an essential amino acid needed by the brain to produce serotonin. High levels of serotonin can give rise to feelings of happiness.Not all dark chocolates are created equal, hence it is important to look at the packaging and make sure that a minimum of 70% of it is pure cocoa. Also look out for labels that state “Does not contain palm, coconut, or milk fats”!

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