Chocolate is a popular treat in the U.S., and it comes in many forms and types. While many people prefer the taste of milk chocolate, dark chocolate is actually the form of chocolate you should choose for health reasons. Here are two things you should know about healthy dark chocolate and the effects it has on your brain.
Top Benefits for Your Brain
It Can Improve Your Mood
While having a better mood might not seem like a huge benefit to the brain, it actually is, and it is a benefit to the rest of your body too. Stress has many negative effects on the body, but stress naturally diminishes when you are in a good mood.
Dark chocolate contains phenylethylamine, which is better known as the "love drug." Your body naturally produces this chemical; however, it may not produce enough to have effects that you can feel. Phenylethylamine in your body gives you similar feelings to those that you experience when you first fall in love. By consuming dark chocolate, you may see an improvement in your mood.
It Improves Cognitive Functions
Your brain is constantly responding to your life and surroundings, and this occurs through cognitive functions. When you do things that strengthen the brain, your cognitive functions improve, which is especially helpful as you age. Research shows that dark chocolate contains ingredients that are especially helpful for these brain functions, and this occurs partly because of the flavanols found in dark chocolate.
Flavanols are a natural ingredient found in cocoa and are linked to good brain health. Current studies have found that consuming high amounts of flavanols can help seniors prevent or reverse memory loss.
Flavanols also improve the functions of blood vessels in the body, which is another way these chemicals improve brain functions.
To get the most out of the chocolate you eat, you should know how to select the right type.
How To Choose The Right Chocolate
If you look at any store for chocolate, you are likely to find dozens of options or more, but certain ones will be better for you. The health effects come from the cocoa in the chocolate, so choosing chocolate by the percentage of cocoa it contains is the main factor.
According to Psychology Today, you should always look for chocolate that contains at least 85% cocoa. The percentage of cocoa can tell you how dark the chocolate is, and darker chocolate is healthier for you than lighter chocolate.
24 March 2015
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