It has been a very rough time for us. I am certainly not making light of these very scary times; however, we must stay strong. We can do this by stepping up our exercise routines and by being super diligent in what we eat to stay healthy.
As I mentioned in my recent blog, Eating Healthy Anti-Inflammatory Foods May Aid Disease Prevention, maintaining and enhancing your health is done in part by adding essential anti-inflammatory foods into your diet. I am going to break down that post into weekly segments this month. Each will focus on a different anti-inflammatory food group and offer a coordinating recipe for you to try! Let’s eat dessert first … so this week, we’ll start with dessert.
Dessert: The Benefits of Dark Chocolate
You may have heard of the anti-Inflammatory dark chocolate benefits, but here are five essential facts …
- Very Nutritious — A 100 gram bar of dark chocolate contains 11 grams of fiber and tons of minerals. You can meet sixty-seven percent of your Reference Daily Intake (RDI) of iron by eating a 100 gram bar of dark chocolate. (The RDI is used to label the amount of nutrients which are considered to be sufficient in meeting daily nutrient requirements for most healthy people.) In eating 100 grams of dark chocolate, you will also fulfill 58% of your requirement for magnesium, 89% of your copper needs, and 98% of your body’s daily need for manganese. Dark chocolate also contains plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium.
- Powerful Source of Antioxidants — Antioxidants play a part in disarming bad free radicals! Dark chocolate is loaded with biologically-active organic compounds. These function as antioxidants, such as polyphenols, flavanoids, and catechins. All of these are beneficial micronutrients with antioxidant activity.
- Could Increase Blood Flow and Lower Blood Pressure — The flavanols in the dark chocolate can stimulate the lining of our arteries. This produces nitric oxide. Nitric oxide sends signals to the arteries to relax which lowers resistance to blood flow and therefore reduces blood pressure.
- Raises HDL (Good Cholesterol) and Protects LDL (Bad Cholesterol) from Oxidation — All those powerful antioxidants help protect lipoproteins against oxidative damage. Additionally, dark chocolate can also reduce insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is another common risk factor for many diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
- May Improve Brain Function — This benefit is very exciting to me! Studies involving volunteers showed that eating high-flavanol cocoa for five days improved blood flow to the brain. It may also significantly improve cognitive function in elderly people with mental impairment. Cocoa contains stimulant substances like caffeine and theobromine. These are the key reasons why it can improve brain function in the short term.