Memory & Brain Health
Scientists at Harvard Medical School have recommend drinking two cups of hot cocoa a day to maintain brain health and prevent memory loss in older people. Their studies have shown that consuming dark chocolate can preserve blood flow in working areas of the brain preventing degenerative brain diseases. “This relationship, called neurovascular coupling, may play an important role in diseases such as Alzheimer’s,” said lead author, Farzaneh A. Sorond.
In a study presented at the 2013 American Dental Association, researchers found that a chocolate toothpaste containing theobromine (a natural cacao extract) actually repaired dentin – the leading cause of tooth hypersensitivity – performing better than fluoride-based toothpastes.
Ageing and Cell Damage
Similar to tea and red wine, dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, which help rid your body of free radicals that can cause oxidative damage to cells, speeding up the ageing process and contributing to an increased risk of developing cancer.
The journal Phytotherapeutic Research recently published a report by British scientists who found that consuming dark chocolate helped regulate body weight in several ways; it decreased the gene expression of impaired fat synthesis, reduced the absorption of fats and carbohydrates, and increased feelings of fullness.
Enjoying dark chocolate occasionally could help lower the risk of developing heart disease by a third, researchers from the University of Cambridge in England reported. Chocolate contains catechins, an antioxidant also found in fruits and vegetables, this antioxidant has shown “substantial reduction in the risk of cardiometabolic disorders,” said authors of the study.
It is worth noting that while dark chocolate has many benefits for overall health, some brands of chocolate can be high in sugar and fat and should be enjoyed in moderation. For a healthier alternative, opt for an organic dark chocolate that has a higher percentage of cocoa and low to no sugar content.