There are so many reasons why chocolate is beloved the world over, and why it’s been around for thousands of years. It is enjoyed in one form or another by pretty much everyone everywhere. Few things have that kind of staying power, but chocolate has staked its claim in the history books.
More than just a candy treat, chocolate is meaningful. It is used to say I love you (or I’m sorry) and it’s a go-to gift to cheer people up. It is a key element in some global holidays and it comes in endless forms — frozen, melted, and mixed with countless ingredients. It is also enjoyed by so many in its purest form. And that is what we are going to talk about today. Pure, simple, delicious dark chocolate.
Dark chocolate is a rare thing in this world because it is both a treat and a medicine (though we use that term loosely). While we are not doctors, we have extensively read and researched all the ways that dark chocolate is good for a person.
Here is a list of some of the most impressive benefits of dark chocolate.
3 Benefits of Dark Chocolate
1. Brain Health
The more researchers study the brain, the more it reveals its complex and mysterious nature. We are not going to get into a discussion of the existential conundrum of whether or not it’s impossible for the brain to understand itself, but we do want to look at some surface benefits that dark chocolate has on the organ inside our skull.
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. It allows the brain to undergo structural or physiological changes when new stimuli arrive and it encourages the brain to heal or compensate if it undergoes injury, disease or other forms of distress.
This is an excellent feature to have in an organ of the body, especially one as important as the brain. What is really means is that dark chocolate increases the brain’s resiliency and can have positive effects on memory, cognition, and mood.
2. Skin Health
The body’s largest organ, the skin, goes through an awful lot in a lifetime. As the first line of defence against everything the world throws at a person, it is an incredible shield that we often take for granted.
The skincare industry generates many, many billions of dollars each year, often doing more damage than good to this precious resource that protects us from pollutants, sharp edges, and harmful UV rays (just to name a few).
What people often overlook is that taking care of the skin also needs to include an internal effort. In other words, some foods actually make our skin better working from the inside out. Dark chocolate is one such food.
A diet rich in minerals will have a positive impact on the condition of your skin, and dark chocolate contains high levels of copper, iron, calcium, and magnesium. Maybe you’ve noticed a recent trend of ingesting collagen capsules to improve your skin’s appearance. Well, dark chocolate contains high levels of manganese, which naturally supports the body’s own production of collagen. This protein helps with an elasticity that the skin looks young and healthy.
Other studies have looked at whether or not dark chocolate is linked to protection against the sun’s UV rays, the answers so far are promising but inconclusive. But eating dark chocolate certainly won’t hurt (though it is no replacement for sun protection)!
3. Mental Health
Sometimes the world feels overwhelming, and 2020 seems to keep dishing out the challenges. In these times, it is so important to do what we can to keep our mental health in good shape.
Studies have shown that people suffering from depression can experience some relief from eating dark chocolate. More than simply a “treat,” dark chocolate has actually been found to lower the risk of depression.
More research is always needed to reach conclusions, but studies are promising. Dark chocolate contains mood-enhancing components like flavanols (brain-protecting nutrients); caffeine and theobromine (great for energy and cognition); N-acylethanolamines (a fatty acid associated with euphoria effects); and phenylethylamine (a natural monoamine that increases the release of brain chemicals like norepinephrine and dopamine).
Further to the science, there is some anecdotal evidence that links dark chocolate to improved mood. Simply put, treating yourself to something delicious and high quality like dark chocolate just makes you feel good.
Sure, it can be a fine line to tread because too much might do the opposite and make you feel bad. But if you are craving dark chocolate or just need a little pick me up — go ahead and enjoy! The world needs happy people these days.
It might be clear that we are big fans of chocolate in all its many forms, but dark chocolate especially. If you are looking for the health benefits of chocolate, it is important that you lean toward the dark varieties (the darker the better).
Dark chocolate contains anywhere between 50-90% cocoa solids, and only a couple of other ingredients, including cocoa butter and sugar. Milk chocolate, on the other hand, also includes milk (or milk solids) and sugar. Lower quality, highly manufactured chocolate bars and candy also often include forms of hydrogenated fats, stabilizers, vegetable and/palm oils, as well as artificial colours or flavours. No Bueno.
When reaching for chocolate, especially if you are interested in the health benefits, keep it simple and pure. Even dark chocolate with added ingredients and flavours begins to lose some of its integrity and benefits. On the other hand, if you just want to treat yourself, we encourage that, too. Chocolate is meant to be enjoyed so help yourself to something special every now and again. You can shop for custom dark chocolate online and enjoy it!