Dark chocolate for heart health? Yes folks, you read correctly! Another great reason to enjoy dark chocolate! Keep reading before you have a change of heart, & don’t miss a beat!
Scientists wholeheartedly believe that the infamous cacao bean is packed with antioxidants (more so than found in green tea!) and the darker the chocolate, the more antioxidants you’ll get! 70% cacao and higher is ideal.
An easy tip for filtering your chocolate choices is a quick glance at the ingredient list, which is ordered based on highest concentration to lowest concentration. This means that you’ll want to look for “cacao” at the top of the list, rather than “sugar;” doing so will prevent you from consuming chocolate that is packed with sugar and saturated/unhealthy fats!
Let’s get a little scientific: dark chocolate contains flavonoids that maintain heart health by producing nitric oxide, which causes our blood vessels to relax and our blood pressure to decrease, thus reducing risk of heart disease! From a Traditional Chinese Medical perspective, red foods are beneficial to the heart, but so are “bitter” foods, such as dark chocolate. It’s been known to help strengthen the TCM Kidney Qi and Yang (energy and vitality) and nourish the Heart.
Dark Chocolate will improve cognition, mood, and blood sugar levels, while reducing the risk of diabetes and controlling appetite, all the while fighting free radicals (they’re like feisty molecules that are a bit out of control, so we like to eliminate them). It also works to balance cholesterol, and contains many essential elements such as fibre, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, and manganese – which promotes the production of collagen in the body, thus making dark chocolate healthy for our skin too!
Tip: Reward yourself with a piece of good quality dark chocolate when you do something productive, like finishing your book, running all your errands, or just when you eat a piece of chocolate… reward yourself with another piece of chocolate! Because eating healthy and living longer is worth celebrating. BodaHealth is having a p-heart-y and you’re all invited! Our practitioners will wholeheartedly take care of you!
Faith Belhacene is a Registered Acupuncturist in Vancouver.