Chocolate consumption has long been associated with health conditions like diabetes, coronary heart disease and also hypertension. However, did you also know that chocolate contains a high level of antioxidants? Not only that, but there are also some studies that have suggested that chocolate could help lower cholesterol levels and help prevent memory decline. Although they do contain high levels of calories as well, so; remember to take it in moderation.
If you want to know more about chocolates, here are some benefits to take note on:
Helps Keep Your Heart to Stay Healthy
One of the health benefits of chocolate is that it contains flavonoids. These flavonoids can then help your veins and arteries to stay supple. A study followed 114,000 participants who were given a few servings of dark chocolate a week. The results showed that their risk for heart attack was lowered by about 37% while the chances of getting a stroke were 29% less when they had a higher consumption of chocolate.
Improves And Maintain Your Memory As You Get Older
Research has also proven that when elderly people were given specially prepared cocoa extracts, which were known to be high in flavanols, their cognitive function significantly improved. The only problem here is that when it comes to consuming chocolate, the percentage of this cocoa flavonols is much lowered due to the processing and the addition of other ingredients like eggs, sugar, and milk.
Chocolate Lowers Inflammation
Chocolate holds inflammation-modulating properties. In one study, obese mice supplemented with cocoa powder had healthier levels of both insulin and inflammation. Also, these mice had a reduction in plasma levels of the major pro-inflammatory mediator interleukin 6 by about 30%. Furthermore, a cross-sectional study for an Italian cohort discovered an inverse link between dark chocolate consumption and serum C-reactive protein.
Raises HDL And Helps Protect The LDL From Oxidation
Dark chocolate can help improve a couple of important risk factors for heart disease. It helps lower the susceptibility of LDL to oxidative damage while increasing the HDL and improving insulin sensitivity. Of course, you still need to consider taking in the right portions as chocolates contain high levels of calories.
May Help Protect Your Skin From The Sun
The bioactive compounds found in dark chocolate may also have some benefits for your skin. The flavonols found in chocolate can help protect against sun damage, improve blood flow to the skin and help increase skin density and hydration. So, if you’re planning a beach vacation, you can consider loading up on dark chocolate in the days before your vacation.
The bottom line of it all, there’s considerable evidence that cocoa can provide strong health benefits, being especially effective in heart health. These health benefits of chocolate don’t mean that you should go all out and consume tons of chocolate every day. It’s still loaded with a ton of calories and easy to overeat. Just control your portions and you’ll be alright. Or, you can also consider making hot cocoa without any cream or sugar.