7 Shocking Dark Chocolate Health Benefits To Help You Live Longer
National Milk Chocolate Day is scheduled for the 28th of July.
Started by the National Confectioners Association, the day is best observed by preparing their favorite milk chocolate types created with special treats.
From recipes such as milk chocolate pecan pie, chocolate candy bar cake, and milk chocolate popcorn, everyone will have something to try.
Aside from loving this sweet treat, there are many dark chocolate health benefits that seniors will benefit from.
Dark Chocolate Health Benefits
Both dark and milk chocolates are made of cocoa.
Cocoa contains flavanols, procyanidins, and epicatechin which act as body antioxidants.
The amount of flavonoids in chocolate depends on the concentration of cocoa in the chocolate.
Dark chocolate contains small amounts of:
- cocoa liquor
- cocoa powder
- and cocoa butter
Milk chocolate contains more amounts of these plus more sugar and milk.
Despite having fewer flavonoids, milk chocolate does not offer the same benefits to the body as dark chocolate since it contains milk which interacts with the flavonoids.
The flavonoids bind to the milk, rendering them unavailable to the body. On this note, it’s not advisable to drink milk when taking dark chocolate if one wants to experience any health benefits.
Milk chocolate may have a great taste, but it’s no match for dark chocolate when it comes to nutritional quality. It contains a lesser amount of original cocoa bean than its dark counterpart.
The more cocoa there is in the chocolate, the higher it’s nutritional value. Most people consider dark chocolate as just any other delicious treat but for the age, a study has it that it has multiple benefits.
Dark Chocolate Helps Reduce Walking Problems
Research has shown that dark chocolate helps a great deal in walking.
According to the study, people with artery complications in their legs could manage walking longer distances after taking dark chocolate.
PAD (Peripheral artery disease), is a cardiovascular disease that most frequently affects the arteries found in the legs.
The disease is strongly linked with age, mainly affecting people over 70 years old.
While walking, a decrease in blood flow in the legs or hips results in pain, cramping or fatigue.
A preliminary study was done on patients (14 men and six women aged between 60 and 78) with PAD, and showed that the patients achieved an increased walking ability unassisted after taking dark chocolate.
Dark Chocolate Reduces Heart Disease
Compounds found in dark chocolate help in inhibiting the oxidation of the bad type of cholesterol known as LDL.
With time, this oxidation inhibition may lower the risk of heart complications.
The compounds can also boost HDL (good cholesterol levels) in blood. HDL is central to keeping the heart and arteries healthy.
Regular consumption of dark chocolate also helps in lowering blood pressure. Several chocolate pieces a week could suffice in realizing the maximum benefits.
Minimization of Alzheimer’s Disease Risks
Dark chocolate contains flavonoids which are proven blood flow boosters to the brain. Proper blood flow to the brain is of great aid in maintaining seniors’ cognitive abilities.
Dark Chocolate Helps Reduce the Risk of Skin Cancer
Your skin thins out with time, making it more vulnerable to skin cancer as you age. Flavonols found in dark chocolate help in protecting the body’s epithelial cells. In turn, protecting the body against skin cancer.
The flavonols also cause increased blood flow to the skin, reducing the sun’s damage on the skin that has already taken place.
Improvement of Learning, Memory, and Focus
Dark chocolate may significantly increase brain function.
A previous study has indicated that if one consumes high flavanol cocoa for five days, it results in improved blood flow to the brain.
Try using that excuse to eat more chocolate!
Cocoa could also significantly improve the cognitive function of seniors experiencing mental problems.
Flavonoids found in chocolate enter and accumulate in brain regions responsible for learning and memory, mainly the hippocampus.
Adding this sweet treat to your daily diet will power your brain.
Stress Relief is Another Dark Chocolate Health Benefits
Chocolate contains substantial amounts of magnesium.
Magnesium helps the body to relax as it’s essential in suppressing the release of cortisol, the stress hormone.
It’s believed magnesium is the main mineral that makes people crave for chocolate.
The mineral also improves the memory, concentration, attitude, sleep, and resistance to stress, especially in seniors.
Dark Chocolate Will Boost Your Mood
Not only does dark chocolate enhance moods because it tastes good, but also because of its various chemical compounds proved to make people happier naturally. One of the chemical compounds is phenylethylamine.
The chemical triggers the secretion of endorphins which, in turn, lift moods. The above benefits provide substantial evidence that cocoa can offer important health gains, being primarily defensive against cardiovascular ailments.
However, eating chocolate all day is not advisable. It has loads of calories and can easily cause weight gain.
Additionally, not all chocolate available is of high quality. The most recommended chocolate type is organic, dark chocolate that contains 70% or more cocoa content.