It may be hard to believe, but there is something even better than chocolate: dark chocolate! Dark chocolate is packed with fiber, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper and other nutrients and minerals. Get the same sweet-tooth satisfying decadence as regular chocolate, but with actual scientific health benefits. Countless studies show that dark chocolate can and should be part of a healthy diet, in moderation. Check out some of the health benefits of this cocoa cure.
1. Brain food
Having chocolate on the brain isn’t such a bad thing after all. Volunteers in one study who consumed dark chocolate for five days showed improved blood flow to their brains. Dark chocolate also contains small amounts of stimulants like caffeine and theobromine, which have been shown to help improve short-term brain function.
2. Diabetes prevention
It’s not all about pasta in Italy. Eating dark chocolate reduces the risk of diabetes, according to a small study from the University of L’Aquila. “Flavonoids increase nitric oxide production,” says lead researcher Claudio Ferri, M.D., a professor at the University of L’Aquila in Italy. “And that helps control insulin sensitivity.”
3. Stroke recovery
Dark chocolate helps protect the brain from damage caused by stroke by shielding brain cells, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins University. They found that epicatechin, a compound in chocolate, reduced brain damage in mice who had strokes.
4. Sun protection
The myth that chocolate causes acne breakouts should be put to rest. Dark chocolate is good for your skin and according to German scientists, the flavonoids help protect women’s skin from damaging UV rays. The flavonols ( in dark chocolate can also increase skin hydration and density, and improve blood flow to the skin.
5. Cancer fighter
Dark chocolate may stop the spread of cancer cells thanks to pentameric procyanidin (or pentamer), a compound found in cocoa. A 2005 study from the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University found that cancer cells treated with pentamer stopped dividing and the proteins needs for cancer growth were suppressed.
6. Cough medicine
Catching a cold never tasted so good! Skip the syrup and try a little dark chocolate next time you have a cough. The theobromine in dark chocolate has been shown to reduce activity in the vagus nerve, the part of the brain that triggers coughs.
7. Heart health
Talk about a true comfort food. Studies show that eating chocolate can prevent blood clots, reducing the risk of heart attacks. Blood platelets in people who eat chocolate clump together more slowly.
Chocolate Tip: For the best benefits, choose dark chocolate with 70% or higher cocoa content.