Why You Can Thank Flavanols
There have long been debates about whether chocolate is good for you or not, with some saying yes and others saying no. However, numerous studies have come out showing that there is increasing evidence that dark chocolate can not only taste good but be good for you! The health benefits are contained in flavanols, which, according to Live Science, are a diverse group of phytonutrients, mostly found in fruits and vegetables. They are also the largest group of phytonutrients known to scientists with more than 6,000 types. Here are some of the ways that flavanols make your chocolate experience a healthy one:
- Lowering risk of heart disease
According to the Mayo Clinic, flavanols in cocoa beans have been shown to have antioxidant effects that reduce cell damage from heart disease. Flavanols have also been shown to lower blood pressure and improve vascular function. Studies have also shown that cocoa helps to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and raise good cholesterol (HDL) levels. Chocolate can be heart healthy!
- Prevents memory loss
Flavanols not only support heart health, but they also help prevent memory loss in older individuals. In a study reported on by the New York Times in 2014, individuals ages 50 to 69 who drank a mixture high in antioxidants (cocoa flavanols) over a three month period performed better on a memory test than those who consumed a low level of antioxidants.
- Look better, feel better
Not only can you enjoy chocolate but also know it is doing wonders for not only your skin but also your mental health. It has long been discussed whether chocolate can have negative impacts on your skin, specifically concerning acne. Flavanols help to fight skin damage because they support proteins and cell membranes. And, people always say when you look good you feel good, right? Cocoa contains phenylethylamine, which is the same chemical the brain makes when falling in love. Falling in love chocolate sounds pretty good if you ask me?
Of course, you always want to enjoy chocolate in moderation and be sure to have a well-balanced diet. The Cleveland Clinic recommends 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate a day is perfectly healthy. But now you have an extra reason to enjoy chocolate! Does this make you more likely to have a chocolate treat now and then? Let us know below!