5 Health Benefits of Loving Chocolate

Chocolate. Americans just love it. In fact, we eat 2.8 billion pounds of it every year, which amounts to more than 11 pounds of deliciousness per person. Adults, in particular, prefer chocolate candy the most, while children prefer hard or chewy candies such as Tootsie Rolls, caramels, or other chewy candies.

The good news is, chocoholics may actually be doing themselves a favor because dark chocolate offers health benefits when eaten in moderation. Here are five of them, according to Healthline.

1. It Contains Nutrients.

High-quality dark chocolate (over 70% cacao) is rich in soluble fiber and minerals such as manganese, iron, and copper.

2. It May Lower Your Blood Pressure.

Cocoa contains compounds known as flavanols which may improve the flow of blood through the arteries, causing a small but statistically significant lowering of blood pressure.

3. It Is Loaded With Antioxidants.

Dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants such as polyphenols, catechins, and flavanols. Testing showed that dark chocolate was even higher in antioxidants than acai berries or blueberries.

4. It May Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease.

Because dark chocolate reduces low-density lipoproteins (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol and increases high-density lipoproteins (HDL), or “good” cholesterol, it may lower your overall risk of heart disease. In addition, observational studies showed a significant lowering of heart disease factors among individuals consuming the most chocolate.

In addition, other studies explained that individuals consuming chocolate two or more times a week reduced their overall risk of showing calcified plaque in their arteries by 32%.

5. It Could Improve Overall Brain Function.

A study of healthy individuals indicated that blood flow to the brain was improved after eating high-flavanol cocoa for five days.

Cocoa may also increase verbal fluency and cognitive function in elderly, mentally impaired individuals. The reason for this short-term improvement in brain function may be due to the stimulants such as caffeine and theobromine that are found in cocoa.

Whatever form of chocolate you prefer, be it a simple chocolate bar or gourmet chocolates from your favorite chocolatier, perhaps chocolate’s greatest benefit is that it’s flat out delicious, and it makes us happy to eat it. To paraphrase the Barbara Mandrell song, if loving chocolate is wrong, we don’t want to be right!