Did you know most people don't eat enough chocolate for hair, beauty and health?
Indeed, there are many benefits chocolate, specifically dark chocolate, may provide.
Susanna C. Larsson, Ph.D., a nutritional epidemiologist.
She's at the National Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.
Dr. Larsson recommends eating dark chocolate for hair, beauty and health.
Eating Dark Chocolate May Protect Against Stroke
Dr. Larsson notes that frequent dark chocolate eaters were 20% less likely to have a stroke compared to women who rarely ate any chocolate.
This conclusion was reached after studying the diets and lifestyles of 33,000 women.
Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is very rich in antioxidants which directly benefit the cardiovascular system.
In order to get the stroke prevention benefits all that was required was the consumption of a minimum of 2.3 ounces of dark chocolate, every week.
Harvard School of Public Health Epidemiologist Eric Ding, Ph.D. promotes the idea eating a daily dose of chocolate, especially dark chocolate, may knock three points off your blood pressure.
It also may amp up your natural blood flow to your heart by as much as 48%.
Dr. Ding came to this conclusion based on a study he performed where the participants consumed a daily 450-mg cocoa supplement.
Daily Dark Chocolate Cuts Artery-Clogging LDL
Indulging in a daily chocolate treat may also cut your levels of artery-clogging LDL cholesterol as much as 14% over time and helping to relax the arteries.
Not only does chocolate help to reduce overall body inflammation, the antioxidants in cocoa may also help to lower your liver's cholesterol output.
Regardless whether you pop a daily 450-mg cocoa supplement or eat the equivalent in chocolate, the benefits may be significant.
Chocolate For Hair
Healthy shiny hair requires proper circulation to the scalp and hair roots along with a vibrant flow of oxygen.
Obviously if chocolate helps to amp up your natural blood flow and oxygen levels, as Dr. Ding suggests, all that improved blood flow will help increase flow upwards to the scalp and hair roots.
The more hair is nourished by vibrant blood flow through the body, the more nutrients, vitamins and minerals it receives.
Improving blood flow by eating a daily dose of chocolate will definitely help grow better, healthy and stronger hair.
When arteries are flowing freely and not clogged with cholesterol the body is healthier.
The health of the hair and skin will reflect this.
Dark Chocolate Contains Vitamins, Minerals And Nutrients
Dark chocolate also contains vitamins, minerals and nutrients which support hair health, hair growth and overall beauty.
It contains potassium, copper, magnesium and iron in high concentrations.
All of these ingredients have proven beneficial for healthy hair and skin as well as helping to slow the effects of aging on the body.
Memory And Energy Boost
Besides providing blood flow to the scalp and roots of the hair, cocoa may help to sharpen concentration, memory and energy for a full 2 1/2 hours.
Neurologist Joseph C. Maroon, M.D. believes a jolt of cocoa provided those specific benefits to participants in a British study.
Dr. Maroon believes cocoa is very healthy for the brain because it naturally opens up blood vessels promoting improved flow of nutrients and oxygen to the brain.
Eating dark chocolate has also proven to help people study better, process complex math problems and have more clear thought processes.
Dr. Maroon believes that eating the proper amount and type of chocolate may even reduce a risk of dementia.
Many experts believe chocolate is a natural feel-good food.
Why does chocolate make people just feel better? Cocoa contains theobromine (a mild stimulant that is not as strong as caffeine) and phenylethylamine (PEA), compounds which encourage brain cells to make more mood boosting dopamine and serotonin.
Improved dopamine and serotonin may actually help to ward off some types of depression or the blues.
Helping To Prevent Cavities
Theobromine, has also been shown to harden tooth enamel.
This means that regular consumption of dark chocolate may actually lower your risk of getting cavities if you combine your consumption of chocolate with practice proper dental hygiene.
This isn't true of other types of sweets and candies.
In some cases eating dark chocolate may even help to suppress chronic or occasional coughing.
A Long Life
Harvard University researchers believe that consuming cocoa every day can slow or even stop the risk of chronic illness as much as 36%.
Some researchers believe the right type and amount of daily chocolate can add as much as one year to your life.
Cocoa's supercharged antioxidants neutralize damaging free radicals before they can attack and sage your cells, explains Dr. Maroon.
Dark Chocolate And Insulin
Many experts who have studied the benefits of dark chocolate believe it can help protect against the development of Type 2 diabetes.
Scientists believe the flavonoids in dark chocolate may reduce insulin resistance by helping cells to function normally.The proper consumption of dark chocolate or cocoa may even help the body to regain the ability to use insulin efficiently.
Dark chocolate also has a low glycemic index, meaning it won't cause huge spikes in blood sugar levels.
If you have diabetes or any other type of medical condition, be sure to check with your primary care physician before adding new foods or supplements to your current nutritional plan.
The Right Cocoa
Experts suggest that you select cocoa products which contain at at least 70% cocoa. When possible even higher levels of cocoa are better.
Organic chocolate is the best, but pick your chocolate carefully.
Be sure to read all the labels and if you see Dutch processed or alkali, the chocolate may be lost most of the healthy antioxidants and other beneficial ingredients through processing.
Most people aren't aware some types of chocolate are over processed and have lost all those health giving benefits.
Savor 16 ounce of hot cocoa or 2-3 ounces of dark chocolate daily. If you prefer, you can purchase a cocoa supplement to substitute for eating the chocolate.
Experts suggest you start with a 450-mg daily cocoa supplement.
Eating chocolate, especially dark chocolate (organic if possible) with at least 70% of cocoa, can provide a wide range of hair, beauty and health benefits.
The many benefits cocoa or dark chocolate provides to circulation, improved blood pressure, lowered cholesterol and other health benefits also provide a great boost to hair health and beauty.
Not all dark chocolate is created equally. Be sure your dark chocolate isn't processed in a manner which strips the many benefits.
Also, don't wash your dark chocolate down with milk or other sugar products or you will lose all the many benefits.When in doubt, do your research and talk to your doctor.