Live Well

The Unexpected Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Are you a self-confessed chocoholic? If you can barely go a day without guzzling on this stuff, we’ve got some extremely good news for you. There are many unexpected dark chocolate health benefits that you need to know about. Here are three undeniable science-backed reasons you should add the rich snack to your everyday diet. Eat up!

Helps to reduce stress and boost mood

Reaching for a rich, dark bar of chocolate when you’re feeling stressed out might not be such a bad idea. Last year, a study by Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center showed that dark chocolate consumption could have a positive effect on people’s mood and memory while lowering stress levels.

The experts believe that these effects are down to the flavonoids found in cacao, which may be beneficial to our brains. However, not all chocolate is created equal. To gain these effects, the experts recommend that the chocolate you consume should be minimall of 70% cacao. Keep that in mind when choosing your next chocolate bar!

Supports brain and cognitive functions

It doesn’t stop there – eating chocolate on a regular basis could also support your brain and cognitive functions. Research published by Frontiers suggests that consuming dark chocolate or cacao could have some striking neuroprotective effects. Adding dark chocolate as a supplement to your existing healthy diet could be the way to go.

“Regular intake of cocoa and chocolate could indeed provide beneficial effects on cognitive functioning over time,” explain authors Valentina Socci and Michele Ferrara, University of L’Aquila, Italy. “Dark chocolate is a rich source of flavanols. So we always eat some dark chocolate. Every day.”

Similarly, another study from the University of Nottingham found that chocolate can offer some short-term boosts to a person’s cognitive skills. The researchers found that drinking a cacao beverage increased the blood-flow to the key areas of the brain. This astounding effect lasts for between two to three hours after consuming the drink. The research could shed a little light on why dark chocolate and cacao help enhance our brains.

Improves concentration levels

Feeling a little sluggish around lunchtime? Having a square of dark chocolate could be the solution. Research from Northern Arizona University suggests that consuming this snack when you lack energy and concentration could have positive results. The study shows that not only does the chocolate lower blood pressure, but it also improves brain attention.

“Chocolate is indeed a stimulant and it activates the brain in a really special way,” said Larry Stevens, a professor of psychological sciences at Northern Arizona University. “It can increase brain characteristics of attention, and it also significantly affects blood pressure levels. A lot of us in the afternoon get a little fuzzy and can’t pay attention, so we could have a higher cacao content chocolate bar and it would increase attention.”

TL:DR

Eating dark chocolate on a regular – or even daily – basis could offer you a broad range of health benefits. The experts believe that these effects are due to flavonoids, i.e. plant metabolites that help cell signalling pathways, found in cacao. The most recent research suggests that eating chocolate could:

> Lower your stress levels and improve your mood and memory
> Support your brain functions for two-three hours
> Give you an extra boost and improves concentration
> Lower blood pressure, which leads to enhanced overall health

Of course, the chocolate that you choose to eat is vitally important. To reap all of the above rewards, you should choose products that have 70% or more cacao in them. You also need to check the label and description to see what other ingredients each product contains. It goes without saying that you need to avoid chocolate that contains numerous additives.

Check out Bullion Chocolate!

Looking for a way to get your dark chocolate fix?  Bullion Chocolate, our neighbours at Cutlery Works, offer a range of delicious chocolate products. What’s more, their on-premises chocolate factory is open now. Why not come and check them out?

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