Over seven million tons of chocolate is consumed worldwide. In 2017 it is estimated that chocolate sales in the U.S. will climb to 22.4 billion dollars. (1)
Many people do not consider chocolate to be a health food, yet studies are showing that dark chocolate is not only delicious but also a superfood.
Cocoa provides phytochemical’s to the body that improve health by acting like antioxidants. The darker the chocolate, the more phytochemical content that is provided to the body. Chocolate can trigger the release of serotonin in the brain and provide vitamins and minerals such as magnesium to the body. (2)
Dark chocolate protects against everything from heart disease to sunburns
A 9 year study from Sweden found that one to two servings of dark chocolate per week cut the risk of heart failure by one-third. A long-term German study found that one square of dark chocolate per day lowered blood pressure, and reduced risk of heart attack and stroke by 39 percent. (3)
Many people worry about the effects of chocolate on weight, but a study from University of Copenhagen found that dark chocolate is more filling and improves feelings of satiety. This means that dark chocolate can reduce cravings for sweet, salty and fatty foods. (3)
Dark chocolate may also be help manage type 2 diabetes. An Italian study found that participants who consumed one dark chocolate candy per each day for 15 days saw their insulin resistance drop by 50 percent. (3)
Daily consumption of dark chocolate for 15 days resulted in a 50 percent drop in insulin resistance for type 2 diabetics
If you turn to dark chocolate when feeling stressed, studies show that this may not be emotional eating. A Swiss study found that eating 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate every day for two weeks results in a significant reduction in stress hormone levels. (3)
It turns out that dark chocolate could also be the answer for sun protection. London researchers tested the impact of chocolate flavanols on sun protection. Researchers found that after three months of dark chocolate consumption, participants took twice as long to develop a sunburn following sun exposure.(3)
Consumption of dark chocolate increases blood flow to the brain for 2-3 hours following consumption
A University of Nottingham study recommends grabbing dark chocolate to increase brain power. The study found that drinking cocoa that is rich in flavanols boosted blood flow to the brain for 2-3 hours, resulting in improved performance and alertness. (3)
If you find yourself fighting off a respiratory infection, one study found that dark chocolate quieted coughs just as well as codeine. Dark chocolate appears to also be the answer to stopping diarrhea. A study from the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute found that the flavonoids in dark chocolate bind to a protein that regulates the secretion of fluid in the small intestine. (3)
If you find yourself questioning your dark chocolate intake, remember that dark chocolate can be incredibly good for the mind and body. It may be wise to steer away from milk chocolate, or sugar filled chocolates, but regular dark chocolate consumption may be part of a healthy diet!
Antonia is a science enthusiast with a keen interest in health nutrition. She has been intensely researching various dieting routines for several years now, weighing their highs and their lows, to bring readers the most interesting info and news in the field. While she is very excited about a high raw diet, she likes to keep a fair and balanced approach towards non-raw methods of food preparation as well. Read more by Antonia here, and SUBSCRIBE!
Sources for this article include:
(1) Statista.com: Statistics and facts on the chocolate industry
(2) healthyhorns.utexas.edu: Is Chocolate Bad For You?
(3) WomensHealthMag.com: 9 Health Benefits of Chocolate