1. Dark chocolate can lower body mass index
The frequent consumption of small quantities of dark chocolate is linked to lower BMI, according to a study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine. Chocolate consumption frequency (via a questionnaire) and BMI (weight divided by height in meters squared) were analyzed among 1,018 men and women aged 20 to 85. Mood, activity per 7-day period, fruit and vegetable intake and saturated fat intake were considered and factored into the researchers analysis as well. All in all, the correlation between chocolate consumption and low BMI upheld. The mean age of subjects was 57, of which 68 percent were male, with a BMI of 28 who ate dark chocolate two times per week and exercised about 3.5 times per week.
2. Dark chocolate boosts brain power
Have a big meeting, test or dinner with the in-laws? Eating dark chocolate can give your brain a short-term boost—increasing your alertness—for two to three hours, a University of Nottingham studyfound. Flavanols, one of dark chocolate’s key components, dilates blood vessels, allowing more oxygen and blood to reach key areas of the brain, which can help you soldier against fatigue and the effects of aging. The study participants consumed a flavanol-rich cocoa drink, but you can eat dark chocolate by itself—or any foods high in flavanols like red wine, green tea and blueberries.
3. Dark chocolate can improve eyesight
Forget carrots—dark chocolate can improve your eyesight too, according to research published in the journalPhysiology & Behavior. The researchers found that participants who consumed dark chocolate with 720 mg of cocoa flavanols experienced enhanced visual performance—like detecting motion and reading low contrast letters—likely due to the increased blood flow to the retina and brain.
4. Dark chocolate may reduce inflammation
After you scarf dark chocolate down, “good” microbes in your gut feast on it, fermenting it into anti-inflammatory compounds that are good for your heart, according to research presented at the 2014 American Chemical Society meeting. Antioxidants and fiber present in cocoa powder aren’t fully digested until they reach the colon where the compounds are absorbed into the body, lessening inflammation within cardiovascular tissue and reducing long-term risk of stroke.
6. It lowers blood pressure
If you have slightly elevated blood pressure, a bite of dark chocolate a day can improve blood flow and bring blood pressure levels down, according to research from the Journal of the American Medical Association. Cocoa polyphenols helped drop the prevalence of hypertension from 86 percent to 68 percent in participants (44 total) aged 56 through 73 who consumed about 6 grams of dark chocolate (containing 30 mg of polyphenols) per day for 18 weeks.
7. Dark chocolate raises good cholesterol (HDL)
Polyphenols in cocoa powder and dark chocolate can favorably—though modestly—reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering bad cholesterol (LDL) and raising the antioxidant capacity of good cholesterol (HDL), according to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
by Brittany Smith for Mens Fitness