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Posted on 12-09-2015
Title: The Sweet Side of Chocolate
Author: Amanda Fuller
Did you know that dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients? Contrary to popular belief, chocolate does actually have its perks! Dark chocolate is made from the seed of the cacao tree, which is one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet! Along with antioxidants, it also contains healthy fats. Cacao is packed with flavonoids and theobromine as well, which work together to help fight diseases. Here are some of the health benefits of chocolate:
- Helps prevent heart disease. Flavonoids, compounds that act as antioxidants, protect cells from harmful molecules called free radicals that are produced when the body breaks down food or is exposed to things like sunlight or smoke. Free radicals can cause damage leading to heart disease. It can also lower blood pressure and reduce LDL cholesterol by up to 10%.
- Stimulates production of endorphins bringing on feelings of pleasure. It also contains serotonin which acts as an antidepressant.
- Flavonoids can absorb UV light, help protect and increase blood flow to skin and improve skin’s hydration and complexion.
Now before you run out to your nearest grocery store, you may want to know which types of chocolate actually contain these nutrients! On its own, cacao can be very chalky and bitter which is why many forms of chocolate may be filled with milk, sugar and butter. Besides adding calories, these additives also dilute the benefits. When choosing the best chocolate option, try to stick with at least 70% cacao (or cocoa – which is the roasted and ground form). As with anything, moderation is important. Try incorporating some of these healthy treats into a whole foods diet. Your sweet tooth will be satisfied and your waistline won’t suffer!
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