I hope your week has gone well. I feel like my theme this week has been chocolate, Lol. It’s not on purpose and wasn’t planned. I guess hormones played a role on what was on my mind this week. Anyway, I wanted to keep on talking about the many health benefits of dark chocolate. If you missed part 1, go back and read it 😉
There are Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Do you ever feel as though your joints are stiff and swollen? Maybe sometimes your bowels feel sore and tender? These unpleasant effects are caused by inflammation. Inflammation is a physical response to stimulation that is intended to protect the body or signal that there is something wrong with a particular area. Today, inflammation and inflammatory bowel diseases have become highly common all over the world, so heavy research is being done to see if there could be a way to extract anti-inflammatory agents from chocolate and other sources of anti-inflammatory plants in nature. Real dark chocolate contains a high dose of flavonoids that are very powerful anti-inflammatories.
Improve your Cardiovascular Health
Another reason why antioxidants are so amazing is because they also help with your cardiovascular health. This is because it has natural unsaturated fats that help your body to deal with and metabolize the fats that are present in your blood stream. This lowers the cholesterol content of your blood and makes it more difficult for those free-floating bodies to attach themselves to the walls of your arteries and cause blockages. That means that dark chocolate can protect you from strokes and heart attacks in some ways. These antioxidants and flavonoids also help to widen the diameter of your veins and arteries so blood can pass through more freely, which makes them great vasodilators and further prevents the possibility of high blood pressure and heart disease.
During studies on cardiovascular health, nearly 500 people were tested for arterial plaque, and after 15 years, they had reduced the previous amount of plaque by over 50%. They’re unsure as to whether or not it was only the chocolate, but given the evidence of the effects of chocolate on arterial health and cholesterol, doctors believed that it was the most likely answer.
Recently completed studies have shown that the smell of chocolate increases brain wave activity in the spectrum, which can help to relax you. This can be really great news for people with anxiety who love to have heaps of chocolate around, but what it really means is that it’s very likely that some kind of treatment involving the smell of chocolate is probably just over the horizon.
Another study that was conducted found that after 5 days of consumption, blood flow to the brain increased by a noticeable amount, which improves some cognitive functions.
Studies involving the elderly have also been done, and have revealed that chocolate can also help them to increase some cognitive functionality. This is also the case for some of the patients with various mental impairments. Doctors believe that this might be due to the chemicals caffeine and theobromine, which are also known to increase blood flow to areas of the brain.
What was truly surprising, was that they found that these chemicals could improve memory, spatial awareness and math functions. This could mean that having a few pieces of dark chocolate the day of an exam could increase your chances of recalling the needed information, so you might was to go pick up a pound or two, Lol. Heck, I’m starting to think I need to find room in my carb count for at least a square a day.
Positive Effects on Blood Sugar
Science has recently discovered that dark chocolate can improve and reduce insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is often what takes place before someone develops diabetes. It is characterized by a buildup of glucose in the blood that can’t be regulated by insulin. When the body produces more insulin and the body fails to metabolize the glucose, the person is said to have insulin resistance. It’s important to note that the dark chocolate that was involved in these tests didn’t have any extra added sugars in the mix.
This is very important information, because this condition is often the precursor to diabetes, and a treatment that arrests these symptoms can easily be used to derive a sort of protection against developing diabetes. The tests also said that there were no positive results for anyone eating less than 2-3 servings per week, so there’s some good news!
I guess there is going to be a part 3 to this post. There are so many different health aspects to dark chocolate that I was not aware of. I simply ate it because I knew it was supposed to be better for you. The dark chocolate that I eat has about 4 carbs per square. That’s pretty high when you’re trying to stay really low carb, but I find that I am satisfied with just 1 square. I love the Trader Joe’s dark chocolate. You can get them at Trader Joe’s or online here.
Talk to you soon (about chocolate again, LOL),