The cacao seed, first consumed by the Maya and Aztec civilizations over 2,000 years ago, was believed to be a health elixir, symbolizing life, fertility, and nourishment.
While dark chocolate may not be the elixir of life, it is a delicious and healthy treat. This delectable superfood contains some remarkable benefits that keep you feeling happy, alert, and healthy.
Cacao seeds contain flavonols, a class of flavonoids, which are rich in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory qualities. The flavonoids found in cacao help fight viruses, boost the immune system, and ward off damage to cells and organs.
Indulging in a little bit of this smooth, rich treat will not only aid your health, but it will also keep you feeling and looking invigorated. Flavonoids protect your skin and improve your skin’s hydration and complexion. The vitamins absorb UV light and increase blood flow, making you look and feel vibrant and healthy.
When deciding on what kind of chocolate you want to indulge in, make sure it contains 70% cacao. Chocolate with a higher amount of cacao has a strong, rich flavor and is be more beneficial to your health. While dark chocolate is good for you, make sure you don’t overindulge. Moderation is key when treating yourself to a piece of dark chocolate.
The Mayans believed cacao could cure all ailments, bringing wisdom, power, and nourishment to anyone that consumed the dark, rich substance. While this may not be completely true, dark chocolate has been shown to improve mental alertness and protect the body from harmful sun damage and other health-related problems.
This ancient civilization had it right in some ways, a square of dark chocolate a day could keep the doctor away.
Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate
- Lowers blood sugar levels
- Improves bad cholesterol
- Cuts risk of heart failure
- Reduces risk of stroke
- Cuts cravings for sweets, and salty and fatty foods
- Helps reduce stress
- Boosts blood flow to the brain – improves performance and alertness
- Protects the skin
- Rich in fiber to keep you feeling full
- Improves vision by increasing blood flow to the retina
- Fuels production of endorphins, brings feelings of pleasure