Dark Chocolate: Why I Love It, and You Should To!

So I have been a fan of dark chocolate for years, and as we all know, most people have a craving for it on occasion. I just want to state that I am a big supporter and I always recommend it to patients to help fulfill their craving for sweets and simple refined carbs, but the following are amazing research studies that have been done, to show that there is so much more to the chocolate than meets the eye.
The most important factor to remember here is that the chocolate has to be dark, and raw or cold processed to obtain all the nutritional benefits from it. My favorite company that produces a very high quality chocolate is called Righteously Raw Chocolates and I highly recommend them if this article sparks your interest and your cravings!

Antioxidant/Oxidative Stress
“Cocoa flavonoids have shown a powerful antioxidant activity providing protection against oxidation and helping prevent oxidative stress-related diseases.”
-J Nutr Biochem. 2009 Feb 4.

Cardiovascular Health
“The blood pressure and cholesterol lowering effects of dark chocolate consumption are beneficial in the prevention of cardiovascular events in a population with metabolic syndrome. Daily dark chocolate consumption could be an effective cardiovascular preventive strategy . . .”
-Brit Med Jour. 2012 May 30;344:e3657

Inflammation
“Our findings suggest that regular consumption of small doses of dark chocolate may reduce inflammation.”
-J Nutr. 2008 Oct;138(10):1939-45.

Healthy Blood-Sugar Levels
“This study provides evidence for the metabolic benefits of consuming polyphenol-rich dark chocolate . . .”
-Food Funct. 2012 Jul 16

Weight Control
“Ingested cocoa can prevent high-fat diet-induced obesity by modulating lipid metabolism, especially by decreasing fatty acid synthesis and transport systems, and enhancement of part of the thermogenesis mechanism in liver and white adipose tissue.”
-Nutrition. 2005 May;21(5):594-601.

Visual/Eye Health
“Our findings suggest that [cocoa procyanidins] inhibits diabetes-induced cataract formation possibly by virtue of its antioxidative activity.”
-Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2004 Jan;229(1):33-9.

Brain/Mental Function
“The prospect of increasing cerebral perfusion [blood flow] with cocoa flavanols is extremely promising.”
-J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2006;47 Suppl 2:S210-4.
Mood
“Chocolate preference in old age was associated with better health, optimism and better psychological well-being.”
-Eur J Clin Nutr. 2008 Feb;62(2):247-53.

Immune Function
“Studies in this line suggest that high-dose cocoa intake in young rats favours the T helper 1 (Th1) response and increases intestinal gammadelta T lymphocyte count.”
-Br J Nutr. 2009 Apr;101(7):931-40.

Skin Health
“Our study demonstrated that regular consumption of a chocolate rich in flavanols confers significant photoprotection and can thus be effective at protecting human skin from harmful UV
-J Cosmet Dermatol. 2009 Sep;8(3):169-73.

Sports/Athletics
“The results of this study suggest that chocolate milk is an effective recovery aid between two exhausting exercise
-Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2006 Feb;16(1):78-91.

Oral Health
“Consuming a cocoa-enriched diet could diminish periodontitis-induced oxidative stress, which, in turn, might suppress the progression of periodontitis.”
-J Periodontol. 2009 Nov;80(11):1799-808.


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