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Chocolate offers a number of science-backed health benefits associated with longevity. It is a food whose properties were discovered since pre-Hispanic times in Mexico.
The Aztecs called the drink made with cocoa xocolatl, it was drunk as restorative to give strength and awaken the sexual appetite, treat fatigue, increase the weight of the malnourished, stimulate the nervous system of the listless, exhausted or weak, as explained in the magazine La Ciencia y el Hombre of the Universidad Veracruzana.
Current research reveals that chocolate can reduce the risk of death from various diseases. This protection is attributed to the rich flavonoid content of cocoa.
Dark chocolate contains cocoa solids than milk chocolate, with 50 and 90%. The Harvard School of Public Health recommends Choose dark chocolate at 70% or higher cocoa content to get the most flavonoids.
1. It can help lower blood pressure
Harvard notes that it has been shown that the Flavonoids promote the production of nitric oxide which helps relax blood vessels and improve blood flow, thus lowering blood pressure.
Having hypertension puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, what are the leading causes of death in the United States, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
2. Helps reduce inflammation
The Harvard Nutrition Source shares that observational studies suggest a link between cocoa or chocolate intake of 6 grams per day (1-2 small squares) and a reduced risk of heart disease and mortality. This may be due, in addition to lowering blood pressure, to the reduction of inflammation.
Chronic inflammation is associated with many diseases including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer’s.
3. It can reduce the risk of diabetes
The flavonoids in chocolate may increase insulin sensitivity in short-term studies, and long-term may reduce the risk of diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) notes that diabetes is associated with premature death from cardiovascular disease, various cancers (liver, colorectal, and lung), and other diseases. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, and strokes, according to the World Health Organization.
4. It can help you improve your mood and cognition
Reducing stress and a good mood have been linked to longevity. Scientists point out that the mood and cognition-enhancing effects of chocolate stem from the richness of flavonoids in combination with the methylxanthines (such as caffeine and theobromine) contained in cocoa.
Dietitian Tracy Lockwood Beckerman explains in Well + Good that flavonoids can reduce stress by reducing levels of cortisol, the “stress hormone.”
The compounds in cocoa also support the brain, particularly the areas dedicated to learning and memory.
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–5 foods that can take years off your life