The Health Benefits Are Pretty Sweet…
16 Science-Backed Reasons For Eating Dark Chocolate Everyday
Real chocolate is not candy… it’s a superfood.
Grown on trees, the cacao bean is where it all starts… its seeds are fermented, dried, roasted, then grounded into its most raw form.
What’s the difference between cacao and cocoa? Cacao is the raw, unprocessed version of cacao beans. Cocoa is more processed. So, the closer your chocolate is to this raw form (70+ cacao), the better it is for you.
In fact, the clinically proven health benefits of dark chocolate will blow your mind (which is why I’ve added a lot of citations from trusted sources).
The milk variety, on the other hand, is candied chocolate (cheap, diluted cocoa that’s high in sugar and preservatives). This is quite the opposite of the superfood – dark chocolate.
Wait… if you only like milk chocolate (don’t click away yet)… below is an incredible ‘hack’ that makes dark chocolate taste sweeter and creamier without any added calories… so keep reading!
Dark chocolate has immense health benefits. With many studies suggesting that this delicious treat can be used for a wide range of prevention/treatments for…
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Oxidative injuries
- Inflammatory conditions
- Insulin resistance
- Plus, a lot more (mentioned below)
Eat Dark Chocolate For Heart Health
Cacao is rich in polyphenols, similar to those found in green tea. Polyphenols have been proven to have beneficial effects on cardiovascular health. Since then, it has resulted in a huge surge in heart health research focusing on cacao.
A recent study suggests that dark chocolate consumption helps reduce (LDL) cholesterol levels (which is the bad kind of cholesterol).
Research published in the BMJ, says that consuming dark chocolate can help lower the risk of developing heart disease by one-third.
Clinical studies reveal a beneficial effect of dark chocolate on blood pressure, lipids, and inflammation. Benefits include enhanced nitric oxide bioavailability and improved mitochondrial function.
Nitric oxide is highly beneficial for heart health because it helps blood vessels relax and improves circulation.
The heart relies on mitochondrial function to provide the energy for pumping blood to the organs of the body.
Dark Chocolate Improves Brain Function
For older adults with mild cognitive impairment… good quality cocoa has been proven (in three different studies) to significantly improve brain function.
One study of healthy volunteers showed that eating high flavanol cocoa for 5 days improved blood flow to the brain… resulting in higher brain function.
A similar study reported that flavanol-rich dark chocolate not only improves brain function, but also improves blood pressure. The study concluded that dark chocolate supports healthy cognitive function and metabolic profile with age.
Data published in neurology.org suggests that drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day can help keep the brain healthy and reduce memory decline in older people.
Dark Chocolate Eaters Are Less Likely To Be Depressed
Eating dark chocolate helps reduce anxiety and improves symptoms of depression. A new UCL-led study discovered that people who ate dark chocolate in two 24-hour periods had 70% reduced odds of reporting depressive symptoms than those who did not eat dark chocolate.
Dark chocolate’s mood-altering compounds
Dark chocolate contains phenylethylamine, a neuromodulator that regulates mood.
Cacao is also a good source of magnesium. Eating a diet rich in magnesium has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression.
Another mood-elevator found in raw cacao is theobromine… which causes the brain to produce more of a neurotransmitter called anandamide. This accounts for the euphoric sensation some feel when indulging in chocolate.
Dark chocolate is rich in tryptophan. The brain uses this tryptophan to produce the neurotransmitter serotonin… which increases feelings of overall happiness. Serotonin levels increase with the amount of cacao, so darker chocolate, or raw cacao gives you the most effect.
Reduced Risk Of Diabetes
According to a study from the University of Maine, people who eat dark chocolate at least once a week had a lower prevalence of diabetes and a significantly lower risk four to five years later.
Improved Gut Health Protects Against Obesity
Rich in probiotics and prebiotics, dark chocolate improves the health of your gut.
Probiotics and prebiotics help maintain the health of your microbiome. Your microbiome is a cluster of essential good bacteria that live in your gut. With good gut health, you’re protecting yourself from a long list of diseases… including obesity.
Can You Lose Weight Eating Chocolate?
Will eating chocolate every day cause weight loss? Yes, eating dark chocolate can be part of a healthy lifestyle that promotes weight loss! However, evidence is very slim that a chocolate focused diet would cause weight loss.
The good news is, studies show that dark chocolate reduces cravings and promotes feelings of fullness… which helps with weight loss. Researchers discovered that smelling and eating dark chocolate decreases appetite. This is because of reduced levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates hunger.
When you combine that with the fact that dark chocolate increases insulin sensitivity (great for weight loss). And strengthens your microbiome (which helps metabolise fat).
Cacao Contains More Antioxidant Power Than Most Foods On The Planet!
Modern-day living leaves us prone to oxidation more than ever.
This is caused by free radicals – which are linked to aging and a host of diseases… including heart disease and some cancers.
Antioxidants reduce free radicals in the body and prevent oxidation (oxidation is bad).
This is why we are encouraged to eat ‘superfoods’ high in antioxidants!
Just to give you a comparison, let’s look at the ORAC antioxidant power ratings of our best-known superfoods. ORAC stands for ‘oxygen radical absorbance capacity’. It’s a measure of the antioxidant activity of foods.
Basically, researchers set a bunch of free radicals (bad) against a sample of a food and see how well the antioxidants in the food can ‘disarm’ the radicals.
Broccoli has an ORAC antioxidant score of 890…
Strawberries have an ORAC antioxidant score of 1,540…
Kale has an ORAC antioxidant score of 1,770…
Blueberries only have an ORAC antioxidant score of 2,400…
Even the famous Goji Berry… well known as one of the most nutritionally-packed superfoods in the world… has an ORAC antioxidant score of 25,300.
All of these are impressive at delivering free-radical reducing antioxidants…
But none of them even come close to raw cacao powder… with an ORAC antioxidant score of 95,500!
Chocolate Significantly Protects Your Skin From UV Light
No, you don’t rub it into your skin…
Due to its high antioxidant capacity, research shows that consuming dark chocolate protects skin from the sun’s damaging rays.
The study concluded that regular consumption of chocolate rich in flavanols gives significant photoprotection and is effective at protecting human skin from harmful UV effects. Conventional chocolate has no such effect.
Why Does Salt Make Chocolate Taste Even Better?
Salt accentuates sweetness and suppresses bitterness, while also functioning as a natural enhancer to bring out the flavor in chocolate.
Hack: If you’re having trouble switching from milk chocolate to dark, add a sprinkle of salt to your dark chocolate… it somehow makes it taste sweeter and creamier. And if you use a pinch of natural sea salt or pink Himalayan salt, you’ll also be getting a good dose of essential trace elements.
Years back, I remember being disgusted by the idea of ‘salty chocolate’… but when I learned of the science explaining how it enhances the flavor… I reluctantly tried it… and couldn’t believe the deliciousness I was tasting!
So, if you’re as skeptical as I was… I urge you… try this ‘dark chocolate hack’ at least once!
Practice ‘Chocolate Mindfulness’
Instead of speed-eating milk chocolate (like most people do), reach for 70+ cacao chocolate… and practice mindfulness as you eat it…
For lack of a better example… think of it like foreplay… you want to take your senses to the limit.
Mindfulness is the invitation to slow down…
Paying attention to every sense of the experience…
So next time you have a chocolate craving… try this ‘chocolate exercise’ (the best kind of exercise!).
Unwrap and break off a piece of dark chocolate… and pause for a moment…
Now, you could just pop the whole piece in your mouth… swallow it in a few seconds, then reach for another piece, and another, and another…
But that wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable as taking the time to enjoy at least three small bites of this single piece of chocolate.
You are about to make a shift in how to appreciate flavor by taking small bites and savoring every sensation.
Chocolate mindfulness is much healthier because just one or two small pieces of dark chocolate are all you’ll need to be satisfied (maybe just one piece).
Beginning with the sense of sight… look at this delicious treat you’re holding. Notice its rich color… appreciate the pretty packaging that it comes in.
Feel the texture of the chocolate on your skin… notice the weight of this treat in your hand.
Now let’s take it up a notch and bring the piece up to your nose… and appreciate the beautiful aroma.
Your brain is set in the anticipation of what’s to come… begin by slightly nibbling the edge of your chocolate (just enough to taste something)… your taste buds are plumping… saliva is being increased.
Before you take your first bite… savor this powerful moment of anticipation and take one last smell.
Pro tip (if you dare): Now is the time to lick the top and sprinkle on some sea salt flakes.
Your brain’s sensory buttons are now being lit up like a Christmas tree…
Take a small bite… chew it a little to release the flavors, then slowly work the chocolate into your tastebuds as you savor what’s left in your mouth…
Before taking another bite… look at it again… you have two+ bites left. Give it another smell and appreciate the remaining flavors on your tongue.
Bite into your treat again… and repeat the process (of appreciating the flavor experience).
While being lost on the sensory overload of slowly eating your chocolate, your blood pressure is dropping… endorphins are being released… antioxidants are flooding your system and reducing inflammation.
Chocolate mindfulness is medicine. Make this your daily ritual.
Maximum Health Benefits, Incredible Flavor
Even though cacao is one of the most powerful health foods on the planet… why stop at just cacao? When you can enrich it even more with some of nature’s most powerful superfoods!
Cacao Bliss is ethically sourced, organic, cacao that has been fortified with some of the most beneficial superfoods… maximizing nutrition, flavor, and health benefits…
Turmeric: The ‘Golden Child’ Of Therapeutic Superfoods.
MCT Oil: The KING of Healthy Oils That Helps Support Weight Loss and Help Curb Cravings.
Cinnamon: The new ‘skinny spice’.
Plus, as an extra shot of flavor:
- Lucuma, which adds a hint of caramel-like flavor
- Mesquite, because it’s a sweet and nutty superfood that doesn’t cause blood sugar spikes, and helps to boost your immune system…
- Plus Himalayan Salt, which enhances the chocolate flavor and contains over 84 minerals and trace elements that help to balance your pH levels…
- Monk Fruit: The best tasting natural sweetener (zero calories and no ill effect on your blood sugar)