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Dr. Edwards' Blog

Benefits to Eating Dark Chocolate-April 18, 2017

If you raided your kids' Easter baskets a few too many times over the weekend, chances are good that you got some chocolate.  Don't be too hard on yourself because, believe it or not, chocolate is actually good for you -- especially dark chocolate.

According to Authority Nutrition's website, dark chocolate that contains 70-85% cocoa has seven proven health benefits:
     1.)  Dark chocolate is very nutritious.  A 3.5 ounce bar contains soluble fiber and important minerals including iron, magnesium, copper, potassium, phosphorus and zinc.  But 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate also contain calories and sugar, so eat it in moderation.  To give you an idea of how much chocolate 3.5 ounces is, that would be about 22 Hershey's kisses.
      2.)  Dark chocolate is a great source of antioxidants.  Those powerful molecules can play a big role in preventing certain inflammatory diseases.
      3.)  Dark chocolate may improve blood flow and decrease blood pressure.
The flavanols in dark chocolate can stimulate the endothelium, the lining of arteries, to produce Nitric Oxide (NO), which is a gas.  One of the functions of NO is to send signals to the arteries to relax, which lowers resistance to blood flow and therefore reduces blood pressure.
      4.)  Dark chocolate also has been proven to affect cholesterol -- raising the HDL (high-density level) or "good" cholesterol and lowering the LDL (low-density level) or "bad" cholesterol.  Tests also show it can reduce insulin resistance, which is another common risk factor for many diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
      5.)  Dark chocolate may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.  Because it lowers the "bad" cholesterol, several "observational studies" show eating dark chocolate can reduce the risk of heart disease by as much as 57%. 
      6.)  Dark chocolate may protect your skin from the sun. The flavonols can protect against sun-induced damage, improve blood flow to the skin and increase skin density and hydration.
      7.)  Dark chocolate may improve brain function by increasing blood flow to the brain.  The cocoa which is used in making dark chocolate also may significantly improve cognitive function in elderly people with mental impairment.  It also improves verbal fluency and several risk factors for disease.

Keep in mind, these benefits come by eating dark chocolate, not milk chocolate.  And before you add a chocolate bar to your daily diet, consider the calories you're adding too.  As with most foods, moderation is key.

                 

 

 

 

 

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