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My kids love chocolate! Is dark chocolate healthy?

Do you love chocolate? If the answer is no, I don’t believe you. Most of the people love the chocolate taste. A piece of chocolate, here and there, will not harm your health. Everything that is moderately can be healthy in some way. Good news for the chocolate lovers is that dark chocolate is actually healthy. This does not mean you should eat the entire dark chocolate in the house when you read this. Take it easy.

If your kids love chocolate too, every time choose dark chocolate!

History of dark chocolate

The cacao tree have figured in many different cultures, but first in prehistoric Central America. Cacao tree is known as Theobroma cacao which is delicate plant that live in the tropical rain forests of South America’s Amazon.

Cacao usage began as a Native Americans drink, served on a room temperature. Pre-columbian societies, through the Maya and Aztec, used the drink in marriage ceremonies, flavored with vanilla, chili pepper, alcohol or other spices. In Mesoamerica cacao beans were used as cash. In Europe cacao was brought first in Spain by Hernando Cortez. The Spanish started serving the drink hot. They also added honey or cane sugar in the cacao formula.

Until this point all chocolate was dark chocolate. But, in 1689 Hans Sloan in Jamaica added milk to the chocolate drink.

The eating chocolate that we enjoy today was made during the 19th century.

Health benefits of dark chocolate:

  • Dark chocolate is good for the brain

Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, which is the same chemical our brain creates when we feel like we are in love. This chemical encourages our brain to release endorphins, so we feel happier. Dark chocolate also increases blood flow to the brain, and that way, help improve cognitive function. Cocoa contains stimulant substance like caffeine and theobromine, which may be the reason cocoa can improve brain function.

  • Dark chocolate can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease

Eating a small amount of dark chocolate every second day can lower the blood pressure and may also prevent arteriosclerosis. 

  • Dark chocolate helps control blood sugar level

The flavonoids in dark chocolate help reduce insulin resistance by helping the cells to function normally and regain the ability to use the body’s insulin efficiently. Dark chocolate won’t cause huge spikes in blood sugar levels, because of its low glycemic index.

  • Dark chocolate is a great source of antioxidants

Compounds such as polyphenols, catechins, flavanols in dark chocolate have function as antioxidants. Antioxidants help free our body from free radicals, which cause oxidative damage to our cells.

  • Dark chocolate contain minerals and vitamins

Potassium, copper, magnesium, iron are contained in high concentration in dark chocolate. Iron protects against anemia. Magnesium helps prevent diabetes type 2, heart disease and high blood pressure. Potassium and copper help prevent against stroke.

  • Dark chocolate can protect your skin

Researchers in Germany found that the flavonoids in dark chocolate absorb UV light. They also increase blood flow to the skin, and improve hydration and complexion of the skin.

Despite this health benefits, dark chocolate does contain a lot of calories, so limit yourself to no more than three ounces of it, per day.