Fast forward to 2011, a study has shown that dark chocolate helped diseased blood vessels to dilate, improving blood flow. (BMJ Heart Journal, 2011).
Dark chocolate also has the ability to block chemicals in the body that constrict blood vessels, (Heinrich Heine University). Thus, in turn, improving blood flow.
Remarkably Dark chocolate also reduces body inflammation. Less inflammation leads to less pain and overall a healthier person!
Dark chocolate is a powerful antioxidant. Which can reduce stress on our bodies and can help with maintaining a healthy Cholesterol level. Why wouldn’t you want to get your teeth into a couple of squares of ‘nature’s little gift’. Treat yourself and treat your body. It really is a win-win situation!
A study in Rome included twenty patients with an average age of seventy, who suffered from severe peripheral vascular disease. They were all asked to eat about 40g of Dark chocolate daily.
Investigators studied blood flow into the patient’s limbs before and after eating the dark chocolate.
They all performed treadmill exercise testing and those eating dark chocolate against those not eating dark chocolate had amazing results.
Patients eating the dark chocolate had:
11 % increase in walking distance.
15 % increase in walking time.
57 % increase in Nitric Oxide which helps relaxation and dilation of arteries.
Two markers associated with constriction of arteries went down by 23 to 37 %
In summary, dark chocolate improved blood flow which significantly improved their performance.
Not all chocolate is created equal, let’s discuss milk chocolate first.
Milk chocolate has no benefits, let me say it again to emphasise it, no health benefits at all.
Dark Chocolate is the healthy chocolate, let me explain some of the terms used to describe dark chocolate.
Cacao (ka–kow) refers to the plant, a small evergreen tree that produces seeds known as Cocoa Beans. This is prior to processing.
The best health benefits of dark chocolate come from the raw Cocoa beans (unroasted) and unfortunately, many companies roast the beans and then grind them into a powder, it is this powder that is used in the chocolate making. You can also buy organic raw Cacao Nibs. This can be a fantastic addition to Walnuts, Brazil nuts or any nuts for your do-it-yourself breakfast cereal.
Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate.
The higher the percentage of Cocoa the more bitter the chocolate and the healthier it is. The bitterness comes from the polyphenols, Flavinoids, and Resveratrol (found in Red Wine) which act as:
3 Lower Ldl Cholesterol.
4 Increase Hdl Cholesterol. (This will overall lower cholesterol ratio, which is the desired effect)
5 Protect our nervous systems.
In fact cocoa has a higher anti-oxidant capacity than green tea, black tea, or even red wine. Why are we just hearing about this now?