According to several studies, you no longer have to feel guilty for Gourmet Baking to indulge in chocolate snacks because certain types of chocolate are actually beneficial for your health. Dark chocolate that contains a minimum of 70 percent cocoa is listed as a Superfood because it is packed with antioxidants. Here are four health benefits of dark chocolate, when it is consumed in moderation.
Eating dark chocolate helps to improve blood flow, which also reduces the risk of blood clots. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids which protect cells from unstable molecules (free radicals) that damage the body's organs and cells. Flavonoids also help to lower blood pressure and reduce LDL cholesterol, often by as much as 10 percent.
Not only does eating dark chocolate increase blood flow to the heart, but to your brain as well, which helps to boost performance and alertness. This delicious treat also causes the release of endorphins (neurotransmitters) that provides positive information to the brain and aids in forming new memories. Just eating a few bites of dark chocolate may be enough for the release of the chemical dopamine that will help you recall events and people.
Control Blood Sugar
Dark chocolate aids to keep your blood vessels healthy, which helps to protect against type 2 diabetes. The flavonoids in dark chocolate increase the production of nitric oxide, which in turn helps to reduce insulin resistance by helping your cells function normally and efficiently use your body's insulin. Dark chocolate also has a low glycemic index, which prevents large spikes in blood sugar levels.
A study in Switzerland found that by eating just 40 grams ( a little over 1 ounce) of dark chocolate every day can significantly reduce cortisol levels (stress hormone). Dark chocolate also contains a natural chemical known as serotonin, which acts as an antidepressant.
Dark chocolate is a superfood, but it is also important to remember that it should be consumed in moderation. Also, keep in mind that other chocolates, such as white chocolate and milk chocolate do not contain the same health benefits as dark chocolate. An easy way to incorporate dark chocolate into your healthy snacking is by baking. Baking delicious deserts that contain dark chocolate will allow you to reap the benefits of smelling the chocolate as it bakes (smelling chocolate triggers the brain waves that induce relaxation) and it will allow you to have the tasty treat on hand at all times.
The above healthy facts are only a few of the benefits of eating chocolate. We here at Sweet Day Gourmet love chocolate and only use the finest chocolate in our mixes, including the European Fudge Brownie Mix. To find out more about the delicious chocolate dessert mixes we have available, contact us.