Shedding light on the health benefits of dark chocolate with our friend, natural medicine professional Keegan Sheridan, N.D.
From white to extra dark, sweet to bitter and ethically sourced, there’s a lot of variety when it comes to chocolate. If you know what to look for, you can not only satisfy your next sweet tooth but support your heart health, mood and make a positive social impact by supporting communities where chocolate is ethically sourced. Read on as we shed a natural health spotlight on the benefits of dark chocolate…
Heart Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate
There’s an established body of research demonstrating the benefits of dark chocolate on the cardiovascular system. Bitter anti-oxidant compounds, known as flavonols, support healthy blood pressure levels as well as anti-inflammatory activity in blood vessels. Both of these actions play an important role in decreasing the risk of heart disease.
Mood Benefits of Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate may also support the body’s response to stressful events. A recent study found that people who ate dark chocolate were significantly less stressed when doing a stressful task two hours later than people who did not consume dark chocolate. Researchers believe unique compounds found in dark chocolate may buffer the release of stress hormones from the body.
Why Ethical Sourcing Matters
There are just a few places in the world where the cocoa tree (what chocolate comes from) grows. These places, more often than not, are in developing nations where regulations to protect and support farmers and the environment are not sufficiently established to withstand the exploding demand for chocolate products. Fortunately, several highly reputable third-party organizations have been established to address these issues; providing ethical systems and regulations to these communities as well as transparency to consumers who want to purchase ethically produced products.
- Color is key and, as far as chocolate is concerned, darker is better.
- There is too much of a good thing, even when it comes to dark chocolate. Research suggests the maximum benefits are found when one to two ounces are consumed daily.
- Look for a percentage of cacao on the package of chocolate products and choose ones that provide 70% or greater, to ensure you’re getting a good dose of health-promoting flavonols.
- Look for ethically sourced seals on package labels to make sure you’re supporting communities that are protecting the health of chocolate farmers and the planet.
Chocolate lovers, rejoice—it turns out that having a sweet tooth doesn’t mean having to feel guilty about a little afternoon sugar pick-me-up. Our Chocolate Walnut Brownie is plant-based, dairy-free and oh so delicious! Try it today.