There’s nothing quite like chocolate! The aroma, the flavor, and the melt-in-your-mouth goodness are enough to make anyone’s day. But, did you know that there are even more reasons to savor a piece of chocolate?
Enjoying moderate amounts of chocolate, especially dark chocolate, has some surprising health benefits, especially for seniors: improved cardiovascular heath, stress reduction, and improved vision, just to name a few!
Improved Cardiovascular Health
Dark chocolate has been shown to improve cardiovascular health, lower blood
pressure, and help raise good cholesterol levels. Chocolate, like some fruits and vegetables, is high in flavones. Flavones help protect plants from environmental damage, and they help protect people, too!
Small, daily servings of dark chocolate reduce stress and act as a natural mood enhancer, especially
for women. Chocolate increases production of serotonin, the neurotransmitter associated with feelings of happiness and contentment. Chocolate is also high in magnesium, which contributes to relaxation and better sleep.
Chocolate is a known anti-inflammatory. Research has shown that the good microbes in your gut digest the antioxidants and fiber in cocoa, releasing anti-inflammatory compounds into the bloodstream.
Maybe when you were younger you heard that chocolate is bad for your skin. Good news: not only has
this been debunked, but research has shown that chocolate is good for your skin! Sensitive skin is a natural part of aging, but chocolate with high levels of flavones helps improve blood flow to the skin and protect skin against sunburn.
Cognition and Vision
A study from Oxford University showed that people over 70 who regularly ate chocolate scored higher on cognitive tests. The flavones in chocolate improve blood flow to the brain and retina, resulting in mental sharpness and improved eyesight. Increased blood flow to the brain helps keep cognition sharp and may also help protect against Alzheimer’s Disease.