Indulging in chocolate might seem like a guilty pleasure, but it can actually be part of a healthy diet. Dark chocolate offers several health benefits, ranging from improved mood to a healthier heart. Recent studies have shown that it might even help diabetics control their blood sugar levels. So, skip the guilt, and enjoy a little of this tasty treat each day.
Boost Your Brain Power and Mood
Dark chocolate affects your brain in quite a few positive ways. Thanks to the chemical it contains, called phenylethylamine, it can serve as an instant mood boost. When you eat chocolate, this chemical helps your brain release endorphins, or “feel good” hormones. This type of chocolate also helps blood flow to your brain, which can help you stay alert, focus better and think more clearly. It might even lower your risk of stroke.
Have a Healthy Heart
The cocoa beans that dark chocolate is made from contain antioxidants known as flavanols. These are substances that help reduce cell damage done by molecules called free radicals, which have been linked to heart disease. Flavanols in chocolate can help lower your risk of heart disease, improve blood flow to your heart and reduce your blood pressure. Eating a small amount of this chocolate each day or a moderate amount per week can help you keep your heart in good shape.
Lower Your Diabetes Risk
The number of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes has been increasing over the past several years. If this disease runs in your family or if you have other risk factors for it, taking steps to lower your risk is crucial. Eating dark chocolate might help prevent you from developing diabetes due to the antioxidant properties it contains. These substances have been linked to better insulin sensitivity, which helps keep blood sugar levels under control.
Although dark chocolate is good for you, some products contain sugar and fat, so aim to have no more than three ounces per day. Moderation in all things is a good rule to apply here, but enjoy every savory bite of your dark chocolate!