Life Just Got a Little Sweeter…
Now that I have your attention, I’ll admit, it is actually more bitter than sweet. Cocoa. The cocoa bean is a rich source of phytonutrients, plant compounds that may have protective or health promoting properties. Research reveals 5 ways dark chocolate can be good for you:
- Reduces Inflammation: The cocoa bean is a rich source of the antioxidant theobromine, which may reduce inflammation.
- Lowers Risk of Heart Disease: Studies have found that habitual chocolate consumers had a lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke compared with subjects who didn't eat chocolate.
- Reduces Risk of Future Cognitive Decline: A 2015 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggested that cocoa flavanols, a type of phytonutrient, may reduce some measure of age-related cognitive dysfunction with habitual intake.
- Reduces Blood Pressure: Again, those powerful flavanols in dark chocolate are thought to increase nitric oxide, which improves blood vessel function and can lower blood pressure.
- A Smart Choice: According to a 2012 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine places where chocolate consumption is highest have the most Nobel Prize recipients!
Chocolate can be a part of a healthy diet. Like any food, the less processed it is, the better it is. In this case, more cocoa and less added fat and sugar allows us to increase our phytonutrient intake without empty calories. Add a little cocoa to your morning coffee, oatmeal, or smoothie. Enjoy a small piece of 60-70% dark chocolate.
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