Not all superheroes wear capes and in the case of nutrition, dark chocolate can be quite the champ! Yes, that’s right fellow chocoholics, your favourite delectable Christmas treat is the grandest of all foods – a superfood.
What makes food a superfood?
To give us even more reason to love chocolate (in case you need extra rationale throughout the silly season), we need to get a little science-y. It all comes down to antioxidants and the important role they play in protecting our bodies from oxidation – a process where cells can become damaged, potentially causing disastrous health effects over time.
So what exactly makes chocolate a hero of the nutrition universe?
Now here’s how dark chocolate fits in the mix. It turns out cocoa is packed with a type of plant-based antioxidant called flavanols said to lower blood pressure and benefit heart health.
According to a recent study published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology, eating dark chocolate at least twice a week compared to once a week or less, is associated with an eight percent lower risk for coronary artery disease.
Chocolate can also be a serious mood booster too. A systematic review published in the journal of Nutrition Reviews found that five out of eight studies on chocolate and mood showed not only could chocolate pep up your mood but three studies showed clear evidence of cognitive enhancements. Feeling a little fuzzy? Dark chocolate might just make you sharper.
Chomp on the dark side
This news might be a little bittersweet for some, but not all chocolate is created equal when it comes to health benefits. Dark chocolate contains up to six times more flavanols than milk chocolate. In fact, a 2011 study published in the Chemistry Central Journal found cocoa actually has more flavanols than blueberries and acai berries.
If you want your Christmas sweats to be a little less of a guilty pleasure (although there’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure in our book), opt for chocolate with 70 percent cacao or higher. And remember, everything is good in moderation.
Well that’s our Christmas list sorted!