Who doesn’t love chocolate? A guaranteed delight, chocolate also has proven health benefits. There is an increasing amount of research on the positive effects of high-quality dark chocolate, an incomparable superfood packed with over 300 identified nutrients. Eating chocolate can have a mood-enhancing effect!

When choosing a chocolate, it should have no preservatives, no refined sugar or any other product that may affect its taste or nutritional value. It is recommended to consume dark chocolate, ideally organic, with a high percentage of cacao. All PRANA chocolate products, including the new Chocolate Bark, meet these criteria and have been developed to guarantee superior quality, thus maximizing the overall benefits to our health.

A source of enzymes, essential amino acids, minerals, vitamins and above all, pleasure, how could we imagine life without chocolate? Here are 5 good reasons to eat it every day:

1. High in antioxidants

Cacao is rich in antioxidants, including flavonoids and polyphenols, which have properties to prevent harmful reactions caused by free radicals. These antioxidants could help block tumour cells from invading our healthy cells and reduce the risk of cancer. Cacao contains more antioxidants than red wine, green tea and Goji berries. It also has beneficial properties that contribute to preventing cardiovascular diseases and help reduce the risk of cancer [1]. Higher percentages of cacao mean a chocolate rich in healthy antioxidants.

2. Effects on cholesterol

There are 2 types of cholesterol: HDL cholesterol, known as the “good” cholesterol and LDL, known as the “bad” cholesterol. Good cholesterol is transported from the arteries to the liver, and then eliminated. Bad cholesterol, however, is transported in the body but can accumulate on the walls of the arteries and is a risk factor for heart disease. Chocolate can protect the body from bad cholesterol with the help of flavonoids and monounsaturated fatty acids, which reduce the concentration of bad cholesterol and promote the production of good cholesterol.

3. Saturated fat

Saturated fats have a bad reputation, since they are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. However, it is important to distinguish them and not put them all in the same category. Saturated fats contained in chocolate are mainly stearic fatty acids found in cacao butter. These fatty acids are not harmful - they even have a positive impact on cardiovascular health and stabilize cholesterol levels. Stearic acid may have a beneficial effect on blood pressure by reducing the volume of platelets and preventing the formation of clots.

4. Sweet... but

A study from the American Chemical Society [2] shows that consuming quality chocolate with a higher cacao content may improve insulin sensitivity of cells and could reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. This result is explained by the flavonoids contained in dark chocolate. Another study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition [3] has shown that consuming 28 g of cacao 2 to 6 times a week decreased the risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes by 34%, compared to consuming it only once a month.

5. A source of minerals

Chocolate contains an abundance of minerals, including one of the most important: magnesium. Magnesium can help bone formation, supports the cardiovascular system, increases intestinal movements, balances the pH and is essential to help the heart pump blood efficiently in order to reduce blood pressure. It is a muscle relaxant (calms sensitivity of pain) and plays a role in energy metabolism while helping to reduce stress.

Chocolate is also an excellent source of iron: 3 squares of dark chocolate make up the 10% daily requirement. This mineral is essential for the transport of oxygen and the formation of red blood cells, and is also involved in the production of new cells, hormones and neurotransmitters.

Cacao is also a good source of phosphorus, the second most abundant mineral in the body after calcium. Calcium plays an essential role in the bone and teeth formation and health, helps the growth and regeneration of tissues and stabilizes the blood pH.

Next time you’re craving something sweet, you'll know that high-quality chocolate is an excellent healthy option. Of course, it must be consumed in reasonable amounts, especially in the evening since it contains theobromine, a stimulant milder than caffeine, but that could still prevent a restful sleep. A few pieces of Chocolate Bark or dark chocolate from a high-quality bar is enough to satisfy the sugar craving you might feel after a meal, or to get a small energy boost and a sense of well-being.

[1] Lee KW, Kim YJ, Lee HJ, Lee CY. Cocoa has more phenolic phytochemicals and a higher antioxidant capacity than teas and red wine. J Agric Food Chem 2003 December 3;51(25):7292-5.
[2] American Chemical Society, March 18, 2014
[3] Davide Grassi, Cristina Lippi,  Stefano Necozione, Giovambattista Desideri, Claudio Ferri_The American Journal of clinical nutrition; Short-term administration of dark chocolate is followed by a significant increase in insulin sensitivity and a decrease in blood pressure in healthy persons, 2004