Thursday Health Thoughts: The Benefits of Dark Chocolate

February 13, 2014

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With Valentine's Day happening on Friday I thought there could be no better Thursday Health Thoughts post then the "benefits of dark chocolate". Now I do want to state a disclaimer from the beginning of this post. Those of you that know me very well know that I am not a chocolate lover. So when you see me writing about the benefits of dark chocolate it might appear to be a little ironic. *smiles* But writing this post has taught me a few things too and with Valentine's Day quickly approaching I am ready to share these sweet benefits of dark chocolate!

**NOTE: please note that these findings are talking about small amounts of dark chocolate in moderation.**
Image from Lulas Chocolates
1. Eating Dark Chocolate can reduce your chance of a stroke.
Several years ago there was a study done in Sweden that shared that there was significant findings that those who ate moderate amounts of dark chocolate were less likely to have a stroke than those who did not. Part of the reason for this is that dark chocolate is filled with lots of potassium and copper. 

2. Dark Chocolate is rich in fiber.
Becase dark cholocate is rich in fiber (11 grams) when you eat small amounts of this your stomach fills up very quickly. Due to this you are less likely to continue to eat large amounts. Many studies have shown that eating a small piece of chocolate when you are having a craving for something sweet will prevent you from "oversnacking" on other items (such as salty crackers or chips).

3. Chocolate may help improve blood flow.
Chocolate has properties that can help your circulation! Research has shown that cocoa has anti-clotting properties so chocolate can work in the same way asprin does to the blood in helping it thin out. 

4. Chocolate helps your vision.
Several years ago the University of Reading (United Kingdom) shared their theory that chocolate may actually also help improve blood flow (number 3) to the retina which could help improve your vision!

5. Chocolate Eases Stress

6. Chocolate is a powerful antioxidant
In addition to easing stress, chocolate is also a powerful antioxidant. A study that was done recently shared that cocoa and dark chocolate are so powerful as antioxidants (polyphenols & flavanols) that they are stronger than some fruits (which included blueberries and acai berries!) Are you as surprised by I am about this? Read the article HERE!!

7. Dark Chocolate helps against Heart disease
Dark Chocolate is known to raise HDL levels which will help prevent heart disease.

8. Dark Chocolate can help your teeth.
This was another thing that was surprising for me to learn. Dark Chocolate contains the component "theobromine" which is known to help harden the tooth enamel which in turn helps prevent against cavities.

Happy early Valentine's Day y'all!! Eat your chocolate! *smiles*

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