Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate for Seniors

If you are a chocolate lover, then reading this article could make you very happy. Although it may seem a little farfetched, dark chocolate can actually help improve your health. If eaten in moderation, dark chocolate can lead to wonderful health benefits, especially in seniors. The main benefits from dark chocolate come from its antioxidants. By eating one serving of the sweet treat on a daily basis you can dramatically decrease the level of free radicals in your blood. Antioxidants neutralize the free radicals that are generated in your system. Free radicals can infiltrate your blood and cause cellular damage which can lead to cancers, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and many more chronic illnesses. Free radicals occur from eating poorly, getting too much sun, and inhaling air pollution. In today’s world, it is vital that people include antioxidants in their diets since our society has a lot of air pollution and processed foods. Overtime, free radicals can build up in your system and you can develop a wide variety of health issues. Antioxidants can help clear the free radicals out of your system, and in turn, can help your body maintain a healthy homeostatic environment. By simply adding a few essential foods into your diet, including dark chocolate, you could decrease your risk of the following issues:

Heart Disease

Dark chocolate has certain compounds in it that are very protective against the oxidation of LDL cholesterol in your blood. If LDL levels in your blood are lowered, overtime your risk for cardiovascular disease will also lower. Dark chocolate has also been linked to lowering a person’s blood pressure. Couple a lowered blood pressure with a reduction in your LDL levels, by eating a serving of dark chocolate a few times per week you could drastically reduce your risk of heart disease.

Alzheimer’s Disease

As people age, one of their main concerns is often if they will develop Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic, progressive disease that causes a person to lose their memories. Overtime, it can even affect a person’s ability to feed and dress themselves. No one wants to develop this disease, and one great way to prevent it, is to eat dark chocolate. It is been proven that the high levels of flavanols in dark chocolate can lead to an increased blood flow to the brain. In turn, cognitive ability can be preserved and even improved in the elderly. Dark chocolate can even help people who have already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. It is been proven that the caffeine and theobromine in the treat can help improve brain function for a short time.

Mood Enhancer

 Another great benefit of dark chocolate is that it can be a natural mood enhancer. The sweet treat contains many chemical compounds that have been proven to have positive effects on a person’s mood. Specifically, dark chocolate contains the chemical phenylethylamine, which is the chemical that your brain produces naturally as you fall in love. This chemical will cause your brain to release many endorphins, which will improve your mood drastically. Therefore, eating dark chocolate often can help make you a happier person.

Skin Protection

Skin cancer is on the rise, and in order to combat it, you must protect your skin whenever you are in the sun. The best way to protect your skin is to wear sunscreen whenever you go outside. However, another great way to protect your skin is to eat dark chocolate. Dark chocolate has flavanols in it that can be very protective of your epithelial cells. Flavanols can help increase the blood flow to your skin, improve its hydration, and reduce any UV damage that may have occurred. In order to get the best effects from dark chocolate, it is essential that you have a buildup of flavanols and dark chocolate’s antioxidants in your system in order to boost your body’s ability to protect your skin.

Blood Cholesterol Levels

We have already discussed how dark chocolate can lower your LDL levels in your blood, but it can also raise the HDL levels in your blood. HDL cholesterol is good cholesterol, and it can help keep your arteries and heart healthy.

 

Overall, dark chocolate is vastly beneficial for your body. Not only does it help prevent and reduce the risks of many diseases, it is also packed with nutrients. One 100 gram bar of dark chocolate with a high level of cocoa can give you 11 grams of fiber, almost 70% of your daily iron, almost 60% of your daily Magnesium, and almost 100% of your daily Manganese. However, if you ate 100 grams of dark chocolate each day, then you would also be consuming 600 calories per day in chocolate. This is not necessary healthy, and like everything else, dark chocolate should be eaten in moderation. If you do not like dark chocolate, but would still like to reap all of its benefits, then try eating pure cocoa. One great way to eat cocoa is to make a cup of hot chocolate with milk each morning or night. You could also add cocoa flakes into your desserts, cereals, and oatmeal in order to get a burst of nutrients without the often bitter taste of dark chocolate.

If you are a senior and are looking to make a simple change to your diet to improve your health, then eating dark chocolate a few times per week could be your answer. Dark chocolate is full of vital antioxidants and nutrients that can help reduce cellular damage in your body and in turn reduce your risk for many diseases. Look for dark chocolate bars that have high percentages of cocoa (upwards of 75-85%) when you are buying the sweet treat. Then, enjoy your dark chocolate plain, in a hot drink, or even in your morning cereal. Overtime, you could really begin to see a difference in your health.

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