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Be Well.

A health and wellness blogazine for Auburn University Students. 

Dark Chocolate, Best Chocolate

Dark Chocolate, Best Chocolate

It’s a month later, and you’re still going strong with those New Year’s resolutions, but February is a month full of sweet, hard-to-resist treats. And dark chocolate is one of the most irresistible.

There’s no need to worry, though. You can still continue your New Year’s resolutions (and let your sweetheart get you all the dark chocolate in the world).

Why? Well, did you know chocolate can be healthy? In fact, not only have many studies shown that dark chocolate doesn’t need to be considered junk food anymore, but it is actually healthy! Here are seven perks to dark chocolate that will make you love it even more!

1.     Great Source of Antioxidants

Dark chocolate contains organic compounds such as polyphenols, catechins, and flavanols, which are biologically active and function as antioxidants. These compounds help protect your skin.

2.  Chocolate as Sun Block

Along with the abundance of antioxidants contained in chocolate, it also helps protect the skin from the sun. Those bioactive flavanol compounds can protect against sun damage and improve blood flow to the skin. This helps increase skin density and hydration.

3.     Chocolate for the Heart

Dark chocolate helps prevent two common causes of clogged arteries: restoring flexibility to arteries and preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels. In turn, dark chocolate can potentially lower the risk of strokes.

4.     Lowering Blood Pressure

The flavanols in dark chocolate also stimulate the lining of arteries, also known as endothelium, to produce Nitric Oxide (NO). NO sends signals telling the arteries to relax; this lowers the resistance to blood flow, which then lowers blood pressure.

5.     Chocolate Against Diabetes

Along with lowering blood pressure, NO also helps control insulin sensitivity. This helps with diabetes prevention.

6.     Chocolate for the Brain

As mentioned earlier, the organic compound found in chocolate, flavanol, helps reduce memory loss. Along with that, the anti-inflammatory qualities of dark chocolate are found to help treat brain injuries, such as concussions.

7.     Just Like Falling in Love

Chocolate also contains phenylethylamine (PEA), which is the same chemical that your brain creates when you’re falling in love. PEA encourages your brain to release feel-good endorphins.

As you can see, there are lots of benefits to eating dark chocolate. Of course, everything is better in moderation, so don’t overindulge, but go ahead and enjoy those heart-shaped chocolate boxes for Valentine’s Day!

Be well, Auburn.

Photography: Michelle M.

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