SFH #31: My Case for Dark Chocolate

Let the good times flow with antioxidant rich foods ๐Ÿ˜‰

There are a few treats I like to keep on hand in my fridge or pantry for the nutrient-rich benefit as well as the delicious treat. Dark chocolate is one of them. You might be surprised to find out how powerful dark chocolate can be for your health. ๐Ÿซ

The compounds in chocolate and cocoa are known as polyphenols--micronutrients that we get through certain plant-based foods. Flavanols are the subcategory of polyphenols that bear the responsibility for many of the observed health benefits I'm highlighting.  

The Chocolate Highlight Reel

  1. Reduce your oxidative stress. The OS threat is why we look to foods rich in antioxidants like chocolate. They help protect us from the stress and damage that can make us more susceptible to disease and aging.1 โ›‘

  2. Enhance your athletic performance. We covered nitric oxide yesterday with the sun benefits. We can also increase NO by consuming dark chocolate, which helps reduce our use of oxygen, allowing us to endure in our activities.2 ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿฝโ€โ™€๏ธ

  3. Improve your metabolic health. Increased flavanol consumption also improves insulin sensitivity, giving us the much-needed ability to use our food fuel efficiently.3 โ›ฝ๏ธ

  4. Aid in your skin health. A fun one to discover. Flavanols help improve blood flow in our entire body โ€”including to our skin. And we are more able to protect ourselves from damaging UV exposure (yes, sunburn).4 ๐Ÿงด

  5. Protect our brains and improve our cognitive function. Yes, please to foods that give me greater access to my functionality to write this blog.5 ๐Ÿง 

Check this short and very informative video for a good rundown. ๐Ÿ“บ

If you are not a regular consumer of dark chocolate, not to worry, it just takes some practice ๐Ÿ˜‰. I aim for 85% or higher. Start at 70% if thatโ€™s too bitter for you, and take your time and eat slow. I also opt for organic when I can (less processing of the polyphenols). And I love this brand in particular right now. No sugar added and sweetened with stevia.

1

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0195666316300459

2

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11906-006-0052-5

3

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22892813/

4

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19735513/

5

https://www.nature.com/articles/nn.3850