As if you need another reason to eat chocolate! We have known for some time that dark chocolate is one of a number of foods containing antioxidant-rich compounds known as flavonoids, which have been shown to improve heart health. Here are three compelling studies that provide three more reasons to enjoy this popular sweet.
Reason 1: Dark chocolate can decrease
blood pressure and lower the risk of developing diabetes in healthy
The research: A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating dark chocolate reduced insulin resistance and significantly lowered blood pressure. Doctors don't know exactly how much dark chocolate you need to reap these health benefits, but if you’re following the South Beach Diet, it's best not to overdo it. Starting on Phase 2, try dipping 4 to 5 strawberries in dark chocolate, or limit yourself to 1 or 2 dark chocolate squares (1 ounce each) with as an occasional treat. Be sure to choose brands that contain at least 70% cacao and the least amount of sugar.
Reason 2: Dark chocolate may be an
The research: A study in the Journal of Nutrition found that dark chocolate reduces inflammation. It significantly lowered levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a substance that is an indicator of inflammation in the body. Levels of CRP also help determine the risk for developing coronary artery disease.
Reason 3: Dark chocolate may keep you
feeling fuller, longer.
The research: A University of Copenhagen study found that dark chocolate gives people more of a feeling of satiety than milk chocolate. Two and a half hours after eating either the dark or milk chocolate in two separate sessions, the participants were instructed to eat as much pizza as they liked until they felt comfortably full. As it turned out, the calorie intake from the pizza was 15 percent lower on the day they ate the dark chocolate as well. And it gets better! The participants also stated their cravings for sweet, salty, or fatty foods also lessened.