The Journal of the American Medical Association

Not All Chocolate Is Created Equal: The Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

October 29th, 2015

dark-chocolateAlthough people usually associate chocolate with trips to the dentist's, eating certain types of chocolate in moderation may actually be beneficial for your health. If you want to indulge on candy this Halloween, dark chocolate is one of the better options. Here are some reasons why:

1. It's nutritious.

Dark chocolate with high cacao content is packed with nutrients. One 100 gram bar (although we recommend consuming dark chocolate in moderation) high in cacao content contains a wealth of fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, and manganese. Despite the sugar and calories, there is also plenty of potassium, phosphorous, zinc, and selenium that is beneficial for your health. The fats in dark chocolate include mostly saturated fats, which are recommended over unsaturated fats, and some polyunsaturated fats, which help lower your chances of developing heart disease, stroke, and high cholesterol. Dark chocolate is also a great choice if you want an energy boost without having to worrying about not being able to sleep at night - its caffeine level is minimal compared to that of coffee.

2. It has tons of antioxidants.

Dark chocolate holds the ranking of the sixth top antioxidant food. This is due to the fact that it is packed with biologically active organic compounds (polyphenols, flavonols, catechins, etc.) which act as antioxidants. In addition, cacao has greater antioxidant activity than many other fruits such as blueberries and Acai berries. Antioxidants help prevent or delay cell damage caused by free radicals, which can effectively help lower risks of cancer and other diseases.

3. It has great benefits for your blood (and your brain)!

According to a study from JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association), cacao and dark chocolate can at least mildly improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure. High-flavonol cacao also improves blood flow in the brain and cognitive function, especially for elders with mild mental impairment. Because it contains stimulants such as caffeine, dark chocolate is especially helpful for improving short-term brain function.

4. It's great for your skin!

Flavonols enhance blood flow to the skin, increase hydration , and prevent skin damage from the sun. According to one study, the amount of UV radiation required to produce sunburn or redness within 24 hour of exposure increased significantly after eating high-flavonol dark chocolate for 12 weeks.

5. It can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The substances in dark chocolate prevent cholesterol from accumulating in the arteries and protect against the reaction of unhealthy cholesterol with free radicals. One study published in Clinical Nutrition in 2012 observed that eating chocolate more than 5 times per week reduced cardiovascular disease risks by 57%!

After saving some dark chocolate for yourself, feel free to donate the rest of your candy to our Annual Candy Drive! This November 1st through 5th, we will be collecting candy and handwritten notes for our troops at our office in Wellesley. We are particularly excited about our new grand prize of $1,000 that will be awarded to the school’s PTO who donates the most candy. We hope that you have a happy Halloween, and are looking forward to seeing you at the Candy Drive Nov 5th, 10AM at our office!

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or to set up an appointment and consultation.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. VanDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.


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