The secret behind its powerful punch is cacao, also the source of the sweet's distinct taste. Packed with healthy chemicals like flavonoids and theobromine, this little bean is a disease-killing bullet.
May Improve Blood Flow and Lower Blood Pressure
- One of the functions of NO is to send signals to the arteries to relax, which lowers the resistance to blood flow and therefore reduces blood pressure.
- The bioactive compounds in cocoa may improve blood flow in the arteries and cause a small but statistically significant decrease in blood pressure.
- The compounds in dark chocolate appear to be highly protective against the oxidation of LDL.
- In the long term, this should cause much less cholesterol to lodge in the arteries, resulting in a lower risk of heart disease
- Cocoa or dark chocolate may improve brain function by increasing blood flow. It also contains stimulants like caffeine and theobromine.
- Cocoa may also significantly improve cognitive function in elderly people with mental impairment. It may improve verbal fluency and several risk factors for disease
- Oxidized LDL means that the LDL ("bad" cholesterol) has reacted with free radicals.
- This makes the LDL particle itself reactive and capable of damaging other tissues, such as the lining of the arteries in your heart.
- Dark chocolate improves several important risk factors for disease. It lowers the susceptibility of LDL to oxidative damage while increasing HDL and improving insulin sensitivity.
Of course, this doesn't mean you should go all out and consume lots of chocolate every day. It is still loaded with calories and easy to overeat. Choose quality stuff — dark chocolate with 70% or higher cocoa content. You might want to check out this guide on how to find the best dark chocolate.