Although some 40 million heart-shaped boxes filled with chocolates were sold in the United States…
Chocolate has enjoyed a reputation as a medicinal food for more than 500 years. In fact, European pharmacists sold chocolate in the 1500s and 1600s to treat a variety of conditions from chest pain and fevers to low body weight and premature graying. Even the ancient Aztec and Mayan cultures understood the health benefits of dark chocolate.
Although it’s doubtful that cacao prevents premature graying or chases away the flu, we do know now that cacao is a ‘superfood’, containing polyphenols and flavanols which act as antioxidants to protect the body from free radicals.
But the chocolate boosting benefits don’t stop there. Below are seven health benefits of dark chocolate:
Dark Chocolate Increases Metabolism: The chemical ‘theobromine’ found in dark chocolate stimulates the central nervous system as it releases adrenalin. That increases the body’s metabolism – especially when mixed with chili and green tea – which causes you to burn more calories.
Dark Chocolate is Heart Healthy: Antioxidants in dark chocolate can protect blood vessels from atherosclerosis, prevent heart attacks, stroke and normalizes blood pressure. Eat dark chocolate daily and you can reduce your risk of heart disease by 33%.
Dark Chocolate Relaxes: Even the scent of dark chocolate is a health boost. Research shows that chocolate scent increases the amount of theta brain waves, inducing a state of relaxation.
Dark Chocolate = Healthy Teeth: Because dark chocolate is rich in tannins which contain antimicrobial qualities, it can help prevent tooth decay and even work as an anti-bacterial agent.
Dark Chocolate Does Not Raise Cholesterol: Research shows that the stearic acid found in dark chocolate has a neutral effect on cholesterol.
Dark Chocolate Contains Essential Minerals: High quality dark chocolate of at least 70% cacao offers a number of essential minerals including: iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zink and selenium. In fact, one ounce of dark chocolate contains 2 to 3 mg of iron, more iron than in the same amount of beef.
Dark Chocolate Can Help You Lose Weight: University of Copenhagen scientists discovered that dark chocolate helps increase the feeling of being full.
How much dark chocolate do you need to take advantage of the health benefits of chocolate? Just seven grams a day, say the experts.
Clearly, the European and South American cultures were on to something when prescribing chocolate for health conditions. From raising your metabolism and protecting your heart to supplying you with iron and suppressing your appetite – how many more reasons do you need to keep dark chocolate in your medicine cabinet?
ChezSlaughter Chocolate of Shreveport-Bossier City, LA is a roving artisan chocolate company. We make chocolate confections from premium Belgian chocolate and handcraft artisan caramels and cookies such as Biscotti. We also offer chocolate workshops and chocolate-themed parties.