Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

  • By Maxine Dean
  • 26 Sep, 2017

Why You Should Indulge in Some Dark Chocolate for Your Health

Everybody has a sweet tooth, and chocolate is a no-fail satisfier. Dark high quality chocolate in particular (not your typical Snickers) has several health benefits that make it a bit more justifiable to snack on!

For many years, chocolate has been viewed as the ultimate comfort food and it has become one of the most popular foods in the world. However, due to the over consumption of this silky, dark, sweet food many health practitioners warn against it. They say that it’s calorie-laden and does little in the way of ‘real’ nutrition.

Are there any health benefits to consuming dark chocolate?

Obviously, over-consumption of any food can have a detrimental effect on general health. Recent studies, however, have shown that consumption (in moderation of course) of dark chocolate has many health benefits. So eating about an ounce of dark chocolate every day is actually a good thing!        

The first question that many may ask is: why dark chocolate, not milk chocolate?

The reason is that when you compare dark chocolate with milk chocolate, dark chocolate comes out trumps when it comes to nutritional benefit. Dark chocolate has more fiber and nutrients, but less sugars and cholesterol.

It has to be said that, when talking about dark chocolate, we are talking about chocolate with a cacao percentage of 70% and more.

The Main Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate

Lowers Cholesterol -  In studies, dark chocolate has proven to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good cholesterol). As we know, too much bad cholesterol is not good for us. These studies showed that dark chocolate actually provided health benefits when it comes to cholesterol.

It’s Good for the Heart -   Perhaps the most well-known reason, dark chocolate is good for the heart. Dark chocolate contains nutrients that are known to help lower blood sugar and increase blood flow. In addition, anything that lowers cholesterol is good for the heart. Some observational studies have showed that dark chocolate can reduce cardiovascular death in men by up to 50%. These aren’t scientific studies, but given that dark chocolate lowers cholesterol and can lower blood pressure, then these findings are significant.

It Improves Your Skin - Dark chocolate contains lots of flavanols, which protect the skin against sun damage. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can do without sun cream! However, it does mean that the flavanols will reduce the damage on the skin due to the sun. Therefore, if you are planning a summer vacation, then you could start increasing your intake of dark chocolate a few weeks before your holiday. In general, dark chocolate has a positive effect on the skin.

Can Prevent Diabetes -   Insulin is a word associated with diabetes. Many studies have shown that dark chocolate improves insulin sensitivity. This means that dark chocolate can improve blood sugar levels. Because of its properties it can actually be incorporated in a diabetic diet

It’s Nutritious -   There are many good aspects to chocolate. Of course, chocolate contains calories – up to 242 per 100 grams. This means that it should be eaten in moderation. However, dark chocolate contains minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper and manganese, zinc, potassium and selenium. It is also a good source of fiber, containing about 11 grams.

Good Source of Antioxidants -  Dark chocolate also contains a vast amount of antioxidants, which are great for promoting heart health, decreasing risk of infection, and fighting free radicals in the body. The cocoa tree is one of the best source of antioxidants on the planet. This means that its fruits – the cocoa pods also have antioxidant properties. Many studies have shown dark chocolate to have a higher amount of antioxidants than blueberries or Acai berries.

Although dark chocolate has a higher calorie, fat and saturated fat content than milk chocolate, its health benefits are much higher than milk chocolate. If you consider that dark chocolate has 22% more iron, four times more fiber and 242 grams more theobromine (the alkaloid which reduces blood pressure) per half bar than milk chocolate, then the picture becomes clearer that dark chocolate has many health benefits.

It is also worth considering that dark chocolate has less carbs and half the sugar of milk chocolate and it’s easy to see why dark chocolate has many health benefits.

Dark chocolate is definitely the preferred flavor of chocolate when it comes to those midnight snacks or holiday treats. Just make sure you don’t over indulge!

Philadelphia Skin Care And Beauty Blog | Best Skin Care Advice

By Maxine Dean 07 Oct, 2017
Now that summer is over it's time to undo sun damage! Sun damage is accumulative, so spending long, summer days out in the sun takes a hefty toll on your skin. Sun spots, hyperpigmentation broken capitulates, clogged pores,  redness, dull skin, enlarged pores and sagging skin are just a fraction of ways the sun affects your skin. 

We all know we need to protect our skin, but sometimes life gets in the way. Luckily there are ways to undo some of the damage caused by UV rays. Below you'll find the best treatments to get rid of summer sun damage. 
By Maxine Dean 03 Oct, 2017
Fall is right around the corner and we couldn't be more excited. Embrace the season with this homemade facial mask made with fresh pumpkin puree. If you want naturally radiant and glowing skin while you sip your next pumpkin spiced latte, this mask is for you! 

Pumpkin
- Pumpkins are loaded with anti-aging antioxidants including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Carotene, Linoleic Acid, Lutein making it the perfect base for a natural facial mask! Vitamin A and C help to refine skin texture and tone for a brighter, smoother face. Pumpkin has natural enzymes that help to gently exfoliate and brighten the skin. And unlike other plants, pumpkin doesn't contain fragrance chemicals that could potentially irritate the skin.  
 
Honey - You already know we love honey around here!  Honey provides exceptional hydration and soothing nourishment to all skin types - even acne prone skin!

Greek Yogurt -  Yogurt contains lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid, which exfoliates and hydrates the skin to brighten, smooth and calm the skin. Reju
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Philadelphia Skin Care And Beauty Blog | Best Skin Care Advice

By Maxine Dean 07 Oct, 2017
Now that summer is over it's time to undo sun damage! Sun damage is accumulative, so spending long, summer days out in the sun takes a hefty toll on your skin. Sun spots, hyperpigmentation broken capitulates, clogged pores,  redness, dull skin, enlarged pores and sagging skin are just a fraction of ways the sun affects your skin. 

We all know we need to protect our skin, but sometimes life gets in the way. Luckily there are ways to undo some of the damage caused by UV rays. Below you'll find the best treatments to get rid of summer sun damage. 
By Maxine Dean 03 Oct, 2017
Fall is right around the corner and we couldn't be more excited. Embrace the season with this homemade facial mask made with fresh pumpkin puree. If you want naturally radiant and glowing skin while you sip your next pumpkin spiced latte, this mask is for you! 

Pumpkin
- Pumpkins are loaded with anti-aging antioxidants including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Carotene, Linoleic Acid, Lutein making it the perfect base for a natural facial mask! Vitamin A and C help to refine skin texture and tone for a brighter, smoother face. Pumpkin has natural enzymes that help to gently exfoliate and brighten the skin. And unlike other plants, pumpkin doesn't contain fragrance chemicals that could potentially irritate the skin.  
 
Honey - You already know we love honey around here!  Honey provides exceptional hydration and soothing nourishment to all skin types - even acne prone skin!

Greek Yogurt -  Yogurt contains lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid, which exfoliates and hydrates the skin to brighten, smooth and calm the skin. Reju
By Maxine Dean 30 Sep, 2017
Our dessert inspired smoothie is a packed with ingredients that support skin health from the inside out. This smoothie is loaded with antioxidants, fatty acids and nutrients that help repair skin damage and keep cells nourished, plump and moisturized. And don't worry - it tastes good too! The Swiss chard compliments the sweetness of the apples with a light, earthy flavor and the cinnamon, walnuts and quinoa add a fun, fall twist.
By Maxine Dean 26 Sep, 2017

Everybody has a sweet tooth, and chocolate is a no-fail satisfier. Dark high quality chocolate in particular (not your typical Snickers) has several health benefits that make it a bit more justifiable to snack on!

For many years, chocolate has been viewed as the ultimate comfort food and it has become one of the most popular foods in the world. However, due to the over consumption of this silky, dark, sweet food many health practitioners warn against it. They say that it’s calorie-laden and does little in the way of ‘real’ nutrition.

By Maxine Dean 14 Sep, 2017

It is easy to feel overwhelmed these days. You have a lot on your plate. It seems that each day you put off some task or responsibility until tomorrow, until you have such a backlog of things to do that you feel like your brain is going to explode. It is difficult under these circumstances to relax.

 However, putting aside anxiety and stress is crucial for a lot of reasons. Simple daily stress and anxiety can build up, and lead to a medical diagnosis of overwhelm. When someone is clinically diagnosed as overwhelmed, they have reached the point where they cannot function normally, and they cannot get through the simplest of daily routines.

Add Stress Relief to Your Schedule

The key to relaxing in today's hectic, stress-filled, "Go, Go, Go!" world is to prioritize time for stress-relief. You must make time in your daily and weekly schedule planning for "down time" and de-stressing. This could mean adding to 10 minute sessions of meditation to your daily routine, or trying a few of the tips listed below. Whatever calms your mind and takes you to your "happy place", make sure you schedule enough of that activity. 

Declutter Your Life

Clutter kills productivity, and unconsciously causes your brain to stress out. Your brain automatically tries to deal with every bit of sensory input you receive. This means that the things you see, touch, hear, smell and taste all have to be dealt with by your brain. When you have too much input coming in, especially when it is unnecessary, this clutter creates anxiety and stress.

 Avoiding the feeling of being overwhelmed is always preferred to having to deal with it once it develops. This means delegating and outsourcing those tasks you do on a regular basis which you really shouldn't be worrying with. If you are a micro-manager, you feel like you have to do everything. Stop believing that. The reason why a lot of people feel stressed and overwhelmed is they attempt to do too much. Delegate the menial tasks in your life, and you can keep overwhelm at bay.

Another way to relax when you are feeling overwhelmed is to use visual cues. This could mean placing post-it notes in your home and office reminding you to calm down and enjoy a deep breathing session. It could be as simple as placing happy pictures of the ones you love where you can see them as you move throughout the day. These positive visual cues that make you feel good are simple stress-relievers that can keep you from giving in to feelings of overwhelm.

By Maxine Dean 14 Sep, 2017

Stress causes the brain to kick into high gear, tripping signals telling the nervous system it’s time to engage the fight or flight mode. This triggers the release of chemicals and hormones like cortisol that are released into the bloodstream and these can directly affect how your skin heals and functions.

Stress can wreak havoc on your skin in a variety of ways, including dehydration, accelerated aging, dullness, dryness, irritation, and of course the dreaded adult acne. When you are stressed out, so is your skin and it can’t act correctly if it’s out of balance. Much like you yourself struggle to cope with stress, your skin becomes irritable, depleted, and exhausted.

Unfortunately, at some point stress will happen to you, because it happens to everyone. It’s pretty impossible to avoid paying bills, going to work or avoid the typical anxieties of life.

Moving house, divorce, changing jobs, having children, these are all on the list for the most stressful life events, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that stress is unavoidable. The most effective way to handle stress is by learning how to manage it because it’s impossible to avoid.

Just think about the times you have experienced stress in the past. What types of issues did you notice? You probably thought you had aged, the new gray hairs had appeared from nowhere, that your skin was a funny color, and that you just didn’t look like your old self. Well, you were right. Stress can show in your nails and your hair, and even bigger… On your skin.

Of course, managing stress includes sleeping properly, eating well, and regularly exercising, but before you can tackle the bigger problems you need to know exactly how stress can show on your skin, so, this is how.

By Maxine Dean 13 Sep, 2017

Aging gracefully means being as healthy as you can be for as long as possible. Your dietary and lifestyle choices play a big role in that. Even though you make the effort to exercise and eat right, you should always be looking for ways to fight aging through eating anti-inflammatory foods. All of the anti-aging philosophies, promises, and products can be daunting. You may wonder whether or not eating anti-inflammatory foods is helpful to you. It turns out that the body’s aging process can be accelerated by inflammation in the body. You need to talk to your doctor, dietitian, or nutritionist to find out more about this. 

By Maxine Dean 12 Sep, 2017

Summer is the time of year when people are out soaking up sun and engaging in fun outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, swimming, taking trips to the beach and exploring other parts of nature. While the warm air, sunny skies, free time may be just what the doctor ordered, summer is also a time when people are most susceptible to bug bites.

While virtually harmless, bug bites can be troublesome and painful, too. They can show up just about anywhere on the body and can leave you feeling itchy and sore for days or even weeks, not to mention the unsightly scars they can leave behind.

There are plenty of ointments, creams, and sprays available to prevent  summer bug bites, but they're not foolproof and sometimes we don't think about bug spray until it's too late! For those who don’t want to suffer from their bug bites, try out some of these top remedies to soothe the skin and the treatments available to get rid of dark spots that bug bites leave behind!

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Acne, a common skin disorder that people spend millions of dollars trying to heal, generally affects 80% of our youth and 5% of our adult population.  Scarring is the unfortunate result of some cases of acne.  For those who suffer with acne scarring, the effects can be more traumatic than the initial acne.  Billions of dollars have been spent researching acne, acne scarring, and scar solutions.

Scars are indications that the body has repaired itself in one way or another, either due to injury or infection.  Once these events occur, white blood cells from the body accumulate at the site to fight further infection and repair the damage that has taken place.  Once that process is complete, scars often form.  This process can be compared to a seam being sewn into a piece of torn fabric.  The skin (or seam) will never be quite as smooth as it was before the damage.  

There are different types of acne scars and different degrees of each type.  Some people may develop worse scars than others, depending on their individual tendencies.   

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