Michele is a married mom of three adult children who blogs about real life and working on a healthy lifestyle over at Just 2 Sisters.
Note from Michele: This piece is not intended to be medical advice. I am not a doctor. I am just a mid-life gal trying to live a healthier lifestyle by eating better and moving more.
Dark chocolate may seem like a sweet treat that we should forego while striving to live a healthy lifestyle. However, while you may want to turn away from the milk and white varieties of chocolate, dark chocolate actually offers several health benefits that can help us improve our lives and bodies.
Read on to find out six ways that eating dark chocolate in moderation (a small chunk every 1-2 days) can be beneficial to your healthy lifestyle choices!
Tip: Make sure you are eating the right quality of dark chocolate for maximum benefits. You want the pieces you eat to have 70-85% cocoa content.
6 HEALTH BENEFITS OF DARK CHOCOLATE:
- Helps lower risk of heart disease – Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which are similar to antioxidants in how they help our bodies. They act as a shield for our cells, keeping them safe from free radicals that can cause heart disease.
- It’s packed full of nutrients – A piece of dark chocolate with a high cocoa content can give us approximately 11 grams of fiber, 70% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of iron, and 55% of the RDA of magnesium. The food also contains an abundance of other minerals, including zinc, phosphorus, and copper.
- Helps reduce blood pressure – The flavonoids in dark chocolate can help our arteries relax. This will cause blood flow to improve and your blood pressure may even go down. If you suffer from hypertension, a small piece of dark chocolate each day may help you lower your blood pressure. (Of course, dark chocolate does not replace doctors advice or medication)
- Improves your mood – While it’s common that the flavor of chocolate can lift your spirits, dark chocolate actually contains phenylethylamine, the same chemical your brain naturally produces when you are in love. It also contains serotonin, which helps to ward off depression. If you need a little pick me up, dark chocolate has a little caffeine, but much less than a cup of coffee. I need more pick me ups than I care to admit to.
- Contributes to good oral health – There is a sweet snack to help promote good oral health? It’s true! Dark chocolate has theobromine as one of its compounds. This helps strengthen the enamel on your teeth. Of course, you still need to brush and floss regularly to ensure your pearly whites stay free of issues. Please don’t tell your dentist that I told you to eat dark chocolate!
- Helps keep your skin protected – Since dark chocolate’s flavonoids may help improve blood flow, your skin will continue looking healthy as you age. The circulation can also help with hydration and density. Sun damage can also be prevented, to a certain degree, if you regularly eat dark chocolate.
Do you enjoy dark chocolate?