(WellnessPursuits.com) – Chocolate is one of the simple pleasures in life that just about everyone enjoys and the best news is that there are many healthful benefits to chocolate as well.
Chocolate comes from cacao beans, and higher percentages of cacao make it more healthy, and more bitter tasting. Dark chocolate actually has several health benefits, and health experts say cacao at 70 percent or higher is optimum for healthy chocolate.
That is also the the level where it starts to taste bitter, but the more bitter the dark chocolate you can stand, the more health benefits you will enjoy.
Here are seven ways chocolate benefits your body:
1. Your brain. Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine and both increase blood flow to your brain. The more blood flow a brain gets, the sharper it gets.
The effects are fast and short term, but a benefit nonetheless. It may also help the brains of the elderly in the area of memory. As a side benefit, verbal skills are also aided.
2. Romance. Everything is always about attraction, and so is chocolate. An Italian study showed that regular consumption of chocolate increased that special zing and added to satisfaction.
It releases the same feel good chemicals that are released between lovers when they are making love, the study said. It may be more than coincidence that chocolate is associated with romance.
3. Lower blood pressure and better blood flow. Chocolate makes people feel good, so that may have a psychological affect of relaxation which could lower blood pressure. There is also some chemistry involved. There is a chemical in chocolate that produces Nitric Oxide, which relaxes arteries and that allows blood to flow more freely through the arteries, which in turn, reduces blood pressure. The effects may be mild, scientists say, but every little bit helps.
4. Heart health. If Chocolate assists with blood flow, then it would make sense that it helps the heart. Studies show that over time chocolate may help to reduce the build up of plaque that can obstruct blood flow to the heart.
5. More good Cholesterol. There is a good and bad cholesterol. Chocolate increases the good and reduces the bad. Again, the higher the cacao content, the greater the healthy effect.
6. Vibrant Skin. While the consumption of chocolate may contribute to increased blood flow, your skin also benefits from having more blood near the surface. Studies show that this can prevent some damage from the sun and be of great benefit to your skin.
7. Increased Anti-oxidants. Studies show chocolate has great cleansing power, which is what an anti oxidant does. It is even more effective than many berries that are known for having anti oxidant powers.
Enjoy your chocolate! The darker the better!
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