You thought chocolate was unhealthy? Not so fast. With 2017 here, New Year’s resolutions are on the forefront of most people’s minds. Break bad habits, exercise, lose weight, and generally get healthier usually find their way on the list, but Santa Barbara Chocolate suggests simply eat more chocolate this New Year for some fantastic health benefits.
The company is right on target too with a growing list of studies that show antioxidant-rich dark chocolate is among the list of superfoods. Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, naturally occurring nutrients found in plants that provide a boost in antioxidants.
As good as this sounds, however, researchers and doctors note that to reap the most benefits the chocolate should be more than 65 percent cacao, and consumers should still limit their intake each day because even dark chocolate is full of fat and calories. But consuming dark chocolate daily can add up to some big health benefits.
Research from the Journal of the American Medical Association, cited in a recent Men’s Health article, found that even a bite of dark chocolate each day can improve blood flow and bring blood pressure down. The research notes that cocoa polyphenols helped decrease the prevalence rates of hypertension from 86 percent to 68 percent in participants in the study.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that cocoa polyphenols were also found to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) while raising the antioxidant capacity of good cholesterol (HDL), modestly reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Eating dark chocolate can make people feel full, decreasing their desire for other sweets and fatty or salty foods. According to some research, this can help people lose weight instead of gaining so grabbing even a small bite of dark chocolate is diet-friendly. It’s also been known to help decrease stress, which can be another contributor to weight gain. Scientists have confirmed that chocolate really makes people feel better because it contains a chemical called PEA (Phenethylamine), which helps reduce stress as well as enhance mood. The human brain also creates the same chemical, which encourages various hormones responsible for state of mind.
“Chocolate has always been one of the world’s most popular foods, and now that we know dark chocolate is a superfood, eating more certainly is a fun and tasty New Year’s resolution,” says Jason Vishnefske, CEO of Santa Barbara Chocolate. “Our organic dark chocolate falls in that healthy range with 70 percent cacao without soy lecithin, offering a real taste of South American cacao with subtle floral nuances of raw cacao grown in the Amazon’s headlands.”
Santa Barbara’s organic dark chocolate is also gluten, soy, and GMO free, ethical trade cacao, and Kosher Pareve chocolate.