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Health Benefits Of Chocolate

Published 5/14/13

Chocolate is one of the most popular tasty treats of all-time, and rightfully so. Chocolate is a perfect gift for Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, as well as a scrumptious snack when you are on the go. There are several different types of chocolate, including dark chocolate (the most nutritious chocolate type) and semi-sweet chocolate, but this article covers chocolate in a general manner. 

Benefits Of Chocolate

 The range of health benefits coming from chocolate revolve around vascular health including preventing blood clots, improving blood flow and circulation to the brain and heart, and lowering the “evil” LDL cholesterol levels. 

Chocolate Helps Improve Blood Flow

Cocoa, a major ingredient of chocolate, is known to have anti-clotting and blood-thinning properties that help improve the flow and circulation of blood. These properties of chocolate work in a similar way to aspirin, but chocolate tastes much better.

Chocolate And Flavonoids

 Flavonoids, an antioxidant found in chocolate from its plant ingredients, are known to help protect plants from environmental damage and help repair the already existing damage. When humans consume these flavonoids, the human body also benefits from their antioxidant qualities. Flavonals are the most common type of flavonoid found in cocoa and chocolate. Along with having great antioxidant qualities, flavonals can improve vascular health in ways such as lowering blood pressure and improving the blood flow and circulation to the brain and heart.

Chocolate And Fats

 Recent studies and trials are starting to reveal that chocolate is not as bad as once though, mainly in regards to the fat content. The fat found in chocolate results from equal amounts of oleic, stearic, and palmitic acids. It was commonly believed that the various types of acid found in the fat of chocolate all played a role in increasing the “bad” LDL cholesterol levels of the body. But it is now known that oleic acid is a heart friendly monounsaturated and that only the palmitic acid provides a negative increase in LDL levels. Stearic acid is a saturated fat, which is typically linked to increased LDL levels, but research has shown that stearic acid has a neutral effect on cholesterol as it neither raises nor lowers it. While palmitic acid is a saturated fat that does raise LDL levels, it only makes up 1/3rd of the fat content found in chocolate.

Dark Chocolate Is The Healthiest

 Dark chocolate is considered the most nutritious chocolate type for many reasons. It is known to provide many heart health benefits such as lowering blood pressure, lowering the “bad” cholesterol (LDL) levels, as well as lowering the risk of heart disease. Dark chocolate is extremely heart friendly because of its inflammation-fighting prosperities, which is known to reduce the overall cardiovascular risk. Dark chocolate also contains a high amount of fiber, which helps you feel full faster and longer and can help prevent one from over consuming calories. Lastly, dark chocolate is great for your skin because of the high level of flavonoids. Flavonoids are antioxidants that help protect your skin from harmful UV damage from the sun.

Chocolate is commonly mistaken as a food item that is generally bad for you. This may have been a result of chocolate being unfairly being grouped together with the unhealthy candy bars sold in stores (guilty by association). But recent studies and trials have proven that chocolate is very beneficial when consumed in moderation. Some types of chocolates are healthier than others, for example dark chocolate is the healthiest, but chocolate in general is healthy and very heart friendly.

 

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