Dark Chocolate
(Image courtesy of uberfacts.files.wordpress.com)

by Jade Hanley

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, it’s hard to stay healthy, especially with chocolate on sale and flooding the shelves. Some chocolate, however, is good for you! Dark chocolate has multiple health benefits and generally lowers risk factors for multiple diseases, so there is no need for post-eating guilt. Here are three big benefits:

1. Full of nutrients

As long as the dark chocolate that you are eating is high quality with a high cocoa content, there are many nutrients in dark chocolate. According to AuthorityNutrition.com, “dark chocolate is rich in fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese and other minerals.” It’s also said that dark chocolate is one of the best sources for Antioxidants. “One study showed that cocoa and dark chocolate contained more antioxidant activity, polyphenols and flavanols than other fruits they tested.”

2. Lower Blood Pressure and Cardiovascular Risk

From the high levels of flavanols in dark chocolate, it causes chemical reactions in the blood stream to lower blood pressure and better increase blood flow to arteries. There also have been studies that show that dark chocolate lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease. “[The study] revealed that eating chocolate 2 or more times per week lowered the risk of having calcified plaque in the arteries by 32%. … another study showed that chocolate 5+ times per week lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease by 57%”

3. Think Clearly

As stated earlier, dark chocolate increases the blood flow. This also increases blood flow to the brain. Additionally, the caffeine in dark chocolate is said to improve the brain’s functioning in the short term.