What makes chocolate so healthy? The answer lies with the ﬂavonoids. Flavonoids are the phytonutrients in plants which give them their colors. Chocolate gets its ﬂavonoids from the brown cocoa bean. When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. This is because dark chocolate has a higher percentage of cacao – which is where the ﬂavonoids reside. The ﬂavonoids in cacao have been shown in studies to have positive effects on blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes risk, and inﬂammation. Also, dark chocolate is high in magnesium. Magnesium supports heart health.
Dark chocolate also can help with weight loss! It helps people feel fuller so they eat less. (Milk chocolate, on the other hand, has a higher sugar
content. It may make people eat more.) Consumers know they crave sweets. When they replace cookies, donuts, candy bars (or anything else sweet), with dark chocolate, they feel better.
Probiotics help improve digestion. Especially the absorption of amino acids from protein that help athletes develop muscle growth. They also help strengthen the immune system. Sports enthusiasts know this and are seeking out products with probiotics. Cocoa, in dark chocolate, contains antioxidants and helps inﬂammation. Both beneft athletes. Cocoa also helps blood ﬂow, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Improved blood ﬂow means blood vessels open up so blood pressure goes down. This increases the distance athletes can go – sometimes by as much as 11%
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