Widely considered a superfood, dark chocolate is a sweet which you can indulge in without any guilt (to a certain extent…) due to its many properties which aid the body.
The superfood isn’t to be confused with your average supermarket chocolate bar though, the superfood within it is cacao (different than cocoa). These benefits don’t refer to chocolate bars with less than 65% to 80% cacao, as many candy bars are filled with refined sugar and artificial ingredients. Raw Cacao boosts the following benefits:
Cacao is an excellent source of antioxidants that protect your body from oxidative stress and various diseases.
Enhance Athletic Performance
It can expand blood vessels and improve oxygen flow, particularly during exercise. A study on mice showed that epicatechin improved exercise performance and reduced muscle fatigue due to the effects on cardiac responses.
A study published by the medical review Appetite, claimed that cacao could fight cognitive decline. Their study results showed that weekly chocolate eaters performed best on memory tests.
If the chocolate contains at least 60% of cacao, it contains enough theanine, an amino acid, which enhances focus and improves relaxation.
Catechins are ingredients within cacao and chocolate well known for their antioxidant capacities. It assists the body in looking younger and more dynamic. This doesn’t hold the same for milk and white chocolate which contain more sugar than catechins.
Fights depression and boosts mood
A University College London study claims that people who eat dark chocolate are less likely to report signs of depression. However further research is needed to verify this.
Dark chocolate contains phenylethylamine, which is the brain chemical that’s released when falling in love and positively boosts the mood.
Magnesium is a vastly important mineral the body needs and dark chocolate has one of the highest concentrations of magnesium. A deficiency can lead to insomnia and having strong levels in the body can:
- Improve mood and fight depression
- Reduce blood pressure
- Control blood sugar levels (which in turn may improve exercise ability)
- Improve migraines
- Anti-inflammatory ingredients
Dark chocolate and cacao aid the body in numerous ways and have one of the highest concentrations of magnesium in food.
This is different than other types of chocolate and not to be confused with a normal milk chocolate bar filled with sugar. However, the right type of chocolate can improve the body when eaten in moderation.