Welcome back, Warhawks! What a wonderful time to focus on our health during the times we have been living this last year. February is a month dedicated to heart health and a little bit of dark chocolate can help keep your heart healthy. It might be hard to believe, but dark chocolate has many benefits since it is made from the seeds of cocoa trees and has some of the best antioxidants for our body.
When purchasing dark chocolate you want to aim for chocolate that is 70-85% cocoa. Chocolate with this amount of cocoa contains many nutrients your body needs such as iron, copper, manganese, and magnesium. The darker the chocolate the less sugar it contains which is another reason to aim for dark chocolate that has a high content of cocoa. Even though dark chocolate has many benefits for the body, it is still a good idea to eat it in moderation, as it is high in calories.
Let’s take a look at some more benefits of eating dark chocolate:
- Dark chocolate may also help lower blood pressure and a controlled study found that the cocoa powder was found to decrease oxidized LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) in men while increasing HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). Since dark chocolate helps lower blood pressure, it also helps reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Another fun fact is that dark chocolate has bioactive compounds that improve blood flow to your skin, helps protect against skin damage from the sun, and increases the density of your skin and adds hydration.
- Cocoa found in dark chocolate has also been found to significantly improve cognitive function and helps blood flow to the brain.
With all these health benefits it makes it easy to take the guilt off of eating some dark chocolate. So when you need a sweet treat or are trying to study, grab some dark chocolate and leave the guilt in the gutter.
– Rachael Omdoll, Campus Dietitian