Every year, Americans spend $22 billion on chocolate!
Valentine’s Day accounts for a decent percentage of that total.
While a heart-shaped box of chocolates may seem like the opposite of healthy, experts say it’s less about the occasional small indulgence and more about making good everyday food choices.
A bite of dark chocolate a day could not only be good for your HEART, but may also improve brain function, alleviate stress, and lower the risk of diabetes.
Calling all chocolate lovers! I’m dishing out 3 benefits of Dark Chocolate for both your HEART and overall health.
My Valentine’s gift to you, I’m also sharing tips on how to find the best dark chocolate!
Dark Chocolate Benefit #1: Heart Health
May Improve Blood Flow and Lower Blood Pressure
- The flavanols in dark chocolate can stimulate the endothelium, the lining of arteries, to produce nitric oxide.
- NO signals to the arteries to relax, which lowers the resistance to blood flow and therefore reduces blood pressure.
- Varies from person to person
Raises HDL and Protects LDL From Oxidation
- Increases good cholesterol, which carries the bad cholesterol away from the heart
- Protect bad cholesterol from damaging other tissues (oxidation), such as the lining of the arteries in your heart.
May Reduce Heart Disease Risk
- Studies show that the compounds in dark chocolate appear to be highly protective against the oxidation of LDL
- In the long term, this should cause much less cholesterol to lodge in the arteries, resulting in a lower risk of heart disease
Chocolate Benefit#2: Brain Function
The Treat May Improve Cognition, Prevent Memory Loss, and Boost Your Mood
- Research has shown chocolate stimulates neural activity in areas of the brain associated with pleasure and reward, which in turn decreases stress and improves your mood.
- Additionally, cocoa contains stimulant substances like caffeine and theobromine, which may be a key reason why it can improve brain function in the short term
- The amount of caffeine is very small compared to coffee and unlikely to keep you up at night
Cocoa may also significantly improve cognitive function in elderly people with mental impairment
- It also contains stimulants like caffeine and theobromine, but is unlikely to keep you awake at night as the amount of caffeine is very small compared to coffee.
Dark Chocolate Benefit#3: Blood Sugar Levels
Dark Chocolate Could Improve Blood Sugar Levels, and Reduce the Risk of Developing Diabetes
- Eating chocolate every day doesn’t sound like the best way to prevent diabetes, but studies have shown healthy amounts of dark chocolate rich in cacao could actually improve how the body metabolizes glucose
- Dark chocolate can also reduce insulin resistance (improving insulin sensitivity.) which is another common risk factor for many diseases like heart disease and diabetes
I invite you to join my join my mailing list. One benefit is my weekly Newsletter that publishes on Thursdays. This week I am posting recipe for “Black Bean Brownies”. I like to call this “Sweet Indulges” with a Purpose. These brownie’s are amazing. My 6 year old loves them.
More importantly the are made using dark chocolate. Here is your opportunity to take advantage of the health benefits. Very easy to make. Yields 9 servings and comes in around 275 per serving.
Access “Black Bean Brownies” recipe made with Dark Chocolate at : https://actionchoices.com/ Scroll to the bottom to Newsletter sign-up!