We all love chocolate, and it is always great news to find out that it can boost health in many ways. Dark chocolate slows memory loss and improves cognitive function.
The British Journal of Nutrition published a report which showed that the daily consumption of chocolate can be especially healthy.
A team of researchers from the University of Warwick analyzed data from 1,153 people, aged 18 to 69, who participated in the Observation of Cardiovascular Risk in Luxembourg study, which evaluated the risk factors of heart disease. Their findings indicate that the daily intake of 100 grams of chocolate, lowers insulin resistance and improves liver enzymes than participants. Moreover, these participants were physically more active, looked younger, and more educated.
Dark chocolate stack, chips and powder; Shutterstock ID 230301934
According to the lead study author Saverio Stranges, a visiting academic at the Warwick Medical School:
“Given the growing body of evidence, including our own study, cocoa-based products may represent an additional dietary recommendation to improve cardio-metabolic health.”
This encourages the consumption of foods high in polyphenols, the metabolite that boasts chocolate’s health profile, and prevents cardiovascular and degenerative diseases.
Medical News Today reports:
“Scientists at Harvard Medical School have suggested that drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day could help keep the brain healthy and reduce memory decline in older people.
The researchers found that hot chocolate helped improve blood flow to parts of the brain where it was needed.
Lead author, Farzaneh A. Sorond, said:
“As different areas of the brain need more energy to complete their tasks, they also need greater blood flow. This relationship, called neurovascular coupling, may play an important role in diseases such as Alzheimer’s.”
Researchers claim that it is important to make a difference between natural cocoa and the more processed forms of chocolate; dark chocolate has half the sugar and four times the fiber than milk chocolate.
According to HealthLine:
“A 100-gram bar of dark chocolate with 70–85% cocoa contains:
- 11 grams of fiber
- 67% of the RDI for iron
- 58% of the RDI for magnesium
- 89% of the RDI for copper
- 98% of the RDI for manganese
- It also has plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium
Of course, 100 grams (3.5 ounces) is a fairly large amount and not something you should be consuming daily. All these nutrients also come with 600 calories and moderate amounts of sugar.
For this reason, dark chocolate is best consumed in moderation.
The fatty acid profile of cocoa and dark chocolate is also excellent. The fats are mostly saturated and monounsaturated, with small amounts of polyunsaturated fat.”
The principal investigator Ala’a Alkerwi adds:
“It is also possible that chocolate consumption may represent an overall marker for a cluster of favorable socio-demographic profiles, healthier lifestyle behaviors, and better health status. This could explain, at least in part, the observed inverse associations with insulin and liver biomarkers.”
Now, here is a simple recipe for a delicious homemade chocolate bar:
- 1 cup raw cacao
- 1/2 cup organic, cold-pressed coconut oil
- 1/4 cup 100% pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- A handful of almonds, chopped into slivers (optional)
In a saucepan, melt the coconut oil, and then add all the ingredients, except for the almonds. Next, lay out a cookie sheet with parchment paper on it, pour the mixture over it, make a rectangle, and sprinkle with almonds. Leave to freeze. Enjoy!