Chocoholics, I’ve got good news! There are many healthy benefits of eating dark chocolate. Make an easy and healthy dessert by simply adding chocolate. Here are just a few from the many benefit of dark chocolate articles that I have read.
Heart Benefits of Chocolate
Chocolate is associated with lowering blood pressure, LDL cholesterol and risk of heart disease due to its inflammation fighting properties. A Swedish study of over 30,000 women carried out over 9 years showed over a 1/3 reduced their risk of heart failure by eating 1 or 2 servings of dark chocolate each week. Another study in Germany found that consuming 1 square of dark chocolate a day had a 39% reduction rate in the incident of heart attack and stroke as well as lowering blood pressure. It is believed that the benefits of eating dark chocolate are found in the flavonoids, which is an antioxidant found in this sweet treat.
Chocolate May Curb Munchies
My children often want candy when they are hungry. My response used to be “that won’t fill you up. “ I stand corrected! Chocolate is rich in fiber so snacking on a few squares of dark chocolate can actually make you feel fuller quicker and prevent snacking or binging on high fat, high calorie foods. This alone is associated with weight loss and thus a lower body mass index.
Chocolate and Diabetes? Really?
One Italian study found an increase in insulin sensitivity from those who ate a chocolate bar on a regular basis. This increased sensitivity cut their chances for insulin resistance by almost half!
Chocolate Makes You Smile
Another one of the many benefits of eating dark chocolate is that it can enhance your mood and alleviate stress. Increased bouts of stress are known to produce excess cortisol, a hormone that can decrease thyroid functioning, causing an increase in abdominal fat, and other health issues. In one study by Swiss scientists, individuals who tended to stay very anxious consumed 1 ½ oz of dark chocolate every day for 2 weeks. At the end of the study, there was a significant reduction in their hormone levels. A lack of stress makes for a bigger smile!
Block Harmful Rays
A 3 month London study showed additional benefits of eating dark chocolate. Consuming chocolate with high levels of flavanols protected subjects twice as long from developing sunburn. With such a high incidence of skin cancer, any additional way to protect against harmful UV rays is worth noting.
These same flavanols also boost blood flow to parts of the brain that improve short term alertness and thus performance for up to a couple of hours. So eating high flavanol dark chocolate right before a big presentation or important meeting or even a big test your children are taking might not be a bad idea!
Chocolate contains theobromine which is a chemical that may affect the vagus nerve. This benefit of eating dark chocolate surprised me. This nerve is the culprit behind those “coughing spells.” The theobromine seems to calm this nerve.
Enjoy the healthy benefits of chocolate by trying these two.
No Cook Brownie Roll
- 1 ½ cups of walnuts
- 1 pinch salt or salt substitute
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 12 lg Medjool pitted dates
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
Combine walnuts and salt in food processor and pulse until fine. Add next 3 ingredients and pulse until well mixed. Add a few drops of water in at a time while continuing to pulse. Do this until mixture begins clump into a ball. Remove and begin rolling mixture into small balls. You can get creative at this point. Leave as is or roll balls into cocoa powder, coconut or finely chopped walnuts.
Benefits of eating dark chocolate: The Guiltless Double Fudge Cookie
- 9 slices of Ezekiel sprouted grain bread (orange bag)
- 2 tbsp butter, melted
- 3 ½ tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 cups egg whites
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 3 droppers full of Stevia Drops, Vanilla
- ½ tsp salt or salt substitute
- ½ cup of chopped walnuts
- ½ cup of dark chocolate chips or semi sweet chips if you prefer
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pulse bread in food processor until finely ground. Remove and combine with all the remaining ingredients. Mix well and taste. Add more Steve if needed to sweeten. Spray cooking spray over pan and begin dropping spoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Let cool and store in refrigerator. Warm in microwave or toaster oven to freshen when ready to eat.
Click here to view other yummy guiltless desserts!