Cocoa May Improve Blood Flow To The Brain In Elderly Chocolate: A Treat for the Taste Buds and Your Health

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Chocolate: A Treat for the Taste Buds and Your Health

Great news for chocolate lovers! Dark chocolate has been proven to have many health benefits. Chocolate is obtained from cocoa beans, which are rich in flavanols of plant origin. Flavanols are a type of phytochemical; a bioactive chemical found in many plant foods. Phytochemicals are proven antioxidants, meaning they help protect the body’s cells from damage. These phytochemicals are found in every bite of dark chocolate.

Dark chocolate contains not only cocoa, but also other important nutrients. Those with higher amounts of cocoa also contain fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, potassium and manganese; all of these are good for your health.

Dark chocolate with at least 70% or more cocoa listed as the first ingredient is the healthiest choice because it’s high in cocoa and low in added sugar. Some bars contain up to 95% cocoa! More cocoa, more health benefits. Milk and white chocolate can taste good, but they contain mostly sugar and little or no cocoa. For this reason, it is best to avoid them in the interest of health.

Heart healthy food

Dark chocolate can be considered a healthy heart. The flavanols in cocoa can lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and raise “good” HDL cholesterol, preventing plaque build-up in the arteries. In addition to their vasodilating properties, these flavanols help blood flow more easily throughout the body, thereby lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and congestive heart failure. In addition, blood can flow easily to the brain, increasing cognitive function and reducing the risk of stroke.

Increase memory

Some research suggests that the flavanols found in cocoa can improve memory and brain function. A randomized, double-blind study published in Hypertension examined ninety elderly participants with mild cognitive impairment. In the study, participants drank a dairy-based blend of cocoa flavanols that contained varying concentrations of cocoa. Other sources of flavanols were limited in the participants’ diets. The study found better working memory performance and higher cognitive scores in participants who drank the higher-concentration mixture instead of the lower-concentration mixture. The higher and moderate-concentration groups also showed improvements in insulin resistance and blood pressure levels compared to the lower-concentration group.

Reduces insulin resistance

Despite chocolate’s reputation for being high in sugar and fat, dark chocolate has been found to benefit those with diabetes. Dark chocolate, which contains at least 70% cocoa, will not cause high blood sugar spikes because it has a low glycemic index. Because cocoa flavanols can improve insulin resistance, they can help the body use insulin efficiently.

Improve your mood

Eating this treat in moderation can also improve your mood. Phenylethylamine is produced in the brain when you feel you are falling in love and releases endorphins which can make you feel happy. Not surprisingly, this chemical is also found in dark chocolate.

There are many ways to incorporate dark chocolate into your healthy eating plan. Make a small piece a daily treat if you have a sweet tooth and need a tasty snack. You can melt it and use it as a dip for slices of apples, oranges and bananas. It’s a delicious fondue full of phytochemicals! Dark chocolate chips can also be used as a healthy topping for plain yogurt or mixed into a mix. No matter how you choose to enjoy it, dark chocolate is a good-tasting part of your day that will make you feel good inside and out.

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