- Flavonoids: Cocoa contains flavonoids, a type of chemical found naturally in plants. These phytochemicals are known to help fight a wide array of diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. Make sure you're getting all of the benefits of flavonoids by buying dark chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa. If you aren't sure, look for bars with "pure," "dark" or "unprocessed" on the label.
- Lowering Blood Pressure: High blood pressure can be combated with a daily dose of cocoa. Flavonols found in cocoa can thin blood and relax blood vessels. If you are worried about high blood pressure, even a small amount, like a sprinkle of cocoa on your oatmeal every day, can help lower your numbers.
- Skin Softener: Cocoa contains antioxidants that work toward repairing damaged skin. This will make your skin softer, especially when paired with other homeopathic skins cures like honey or yogurt. Next time you are giving yourself a manicure, use a homemade cocoa lotion.
- Mood Booster: When you're feeling down, sometimes there's nothing better than eating chocolate. And as it turns out, there is a scientific reason why cocoa is so often the perfect answer for a case of the blues. This miracle food contains hundreds of compounds that boost endorphins and serotonin, two of the best-known chemicals that are responsible for making us feel happy. Next time you need a quick mood boost, try making yourself a cup of hot cocoa, and your day is sure to turn out more delicious.
A Answers (5)
Mehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answeredThe following are some health benefits of chocolate:Helpful? 2 people found this helpful.
Bryce Wylde, Alternative & Complementary Medicine, answeredThe cacao “bean” is the seed of the cacao tree, a native of South America. The bean itself is bitter, but when processed as chocolate, the result is delicious.
Research has demonstrated that the antioxidants in cacao are exceptionally easily absorbed and ever so useful to our body. Cornell University food scientists found that cocoa powder has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine and up to three times what is found in green tea. The findings were published in an article entitled “Cocoa Has More Phenolic Phytochemicals and a Higher Antioxidant Capacity than Teas and Red Wine” in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.
The Cornell University researchers who authored the paper showed chocolate to have a high content of antioxidant compounds called phenolic phytochemicals, or flavonoids. They discovered huge amounts of antioxidants in a single serving of cocoa.
But don’t start including average milk chocolate in your diet. Chocolate manufacturers have worked for decades to remove the bitter antioxidants and create a candy taste by adding milk and cream for smoothness and a whack of sugar for sweetness. The result, I’m afraid, is a food item that causes heart disease and free radicals instead of protecting us from them.
My prescription is two small squares a day of a dark chocolate containing 70 per cent or more cacao. This kind of chocolate, like coffee, is deliciously bitter. For some people, the taste is acquired, but it’s worth acquiring for reasons of both health and pleasure.
Find out more about this book:The Antioxidant Prescription: How to Use the Power of Antioxidants to Prevent Disease and Stay Healthy for Life
Rose Reisman, Nutrition & Dietetics, answeredWe've been hearing positive comments about chocolate. Dark chocolate has been proven to prevent hardening of the arteries. It helps cells that line blood vessel walls by making them more flexible. It also releases serotonin, a brain chemical that moderates moods. But let's not get too excited. The extra calories from added sugar, fat and cholesterol that come with eating too much chocolate definitely outweigh the medical benefits!
Find out more about this book:Rose Reisman's Secrets for Permanent Weight Loss: With 150 Delicious and Healthy Recipes for Success
Michael T Murray, Naturopathic Medicine, answered
At the center of chocolate's health benefits are flavonoids. These plant pigments are responsible for many of the health benefits of many fruits and medicinal plants, but chocolate may be a much more sensually pleasing vehicle. In addition, there is evidence that not only is chocolate rich in flavonoids, but those factors in chocolate somehow dramatically increase the absorption of these compounds. The key flavonoids are proanthocyanidins (also called procyanidins), similar to those found in grape seed extract, apples, berries, and pine bark extract. Chocolate is very well endowed with these compounds. In fact, procyanidins constitute from 12 percent to as much as 48 percent of the dry weight of the cocoa bean. Cocoa powder can contain as much as 10 percent flavonoids on a dry-weight basis.
Sarah Koszyk, Nutrition & Dietetics, answered
Research has found that the cocoa solids in Dark Chocolate have important flavonoids that help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow by boosting the production of nitric oxide in the blood vessels. In addition, flavanols from the dark chocolate can improve blood sugar control by influencing the body to use insulin-stimulated glucose, which helps us to maintain our blood sugar levels. Look for chocolate that has at least 70% cocoa or more on the label and you'll get the most bang for your buck with those flavonoids and healthy benefits. But be mindful of portion sizes. Remember: foods that are heart-healthy are not a free for all and should still be consumed in moderation so savor that flavor and enjoy!Helpful? 2 people found this helpful.