Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Did you know that snacking on chocolate, more specifically the dark kind, can keep you alert and get your mind back on track when you are having a midday crash? A study done by Northern Arizona University found that snacking on dark chocolate, the kind with a high cacao content, can improve alertness and concentration.  This was gauged with EEG testing, which measures how much electrical activity is going on in the brain.  The high cacao chocolate, 60% cacao, increased brain activity and stimulated cognitive function.

It is important to note that the positive mental benefits were found to happen after participants ate chocolate that was at least 60% cacao. So don’t make a mad dash to the candy aisle just yet, make sure you have chocolate with a high cacao content. But this could have some great implications for students trying to pay attention in class, or anyone fighting sleepiness at work midday.  By having some high cocoa chocolate on hand, you can fight the midday slump and keep your mental energy in check until the end of the day.  Experts recommend one ounce of dark chocolate with at least a 70 percent cocoa content daily.  One ounce may sound small but even dark chocolate is high in calories and fat.  To make it last longer, take your time enjoying it.  Savor the rich, full-bodied flavor dark chocolate has to offer.

Of course, there are tons of other health benefits to dark chocolate besides just the mental energy boost it provides.  This antioxidant powerhouse is good for your heart, your mood, and can even help keep you looking young.  Here are some more of those benefits, and remember, choose a chocolate bar high in cocoa (at least 60%) to enjoy all these positives. Here are some of the most notable health benefits of dark chocolate:

·         Rich in antioxidants

·         Cocoa flavanols have been linked to heart health

·         Can lower blood pressure and increase blood flow in the body

·         Helps control blood sugar and protect against type 2 diabetes

·         Boosts alertness and cognitive performance

·         Improves mood

·         Reduces stress

·         Boosts immune system

·         Reduces risk of premature aging

·         Rich in vitamins and minerals