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Does the thought of indulging in a delicious bar of dark chocolate excite you? If so, you now have an excuse – or nine – to eat chocolate regularly. Please note that your dark chocolate should contain a high cocoa content (70-85%) for maximum nutritional value.
1. Anti-Aging: Flavanols in cocoa and dark chocolate may slow the signs of aging by hydrating the skin, increasing density, improving blood flow, and protecting the skin for sun damage. 
2. Manage Hypertension: Based on the findings of a placebo-controlled study, eating 25 grams of dark chocolate every day could lower blood pressure in hypertensive and diabetic patients. 
3. Nutritional Value: A 100-gram bar contains dietary fiber (11 grams), manganese (98% RDI), iron (67% RDI), magnesium (58% RDI), vitamin K, and vitamin A. 
4. Control Blood Sugar: Eating dark chocolate regularly could reduce insulin resistance and lower fasting glucose levels. 
5. Improve Blood Flow: According to a study in the Journal of Hypertension, flavonols in dark chocolate promote the production of nitric oxide, which induces vasodilation and improves blood flow to the heart and brain. 
6. Anti-Depressant Properties: Animals studies have demonstrated that some compounds in cocoa have anti-depressant properties. 
7. Heart Health: A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that dark chocolate is a promising agent in preventing cardiovascular diseases. 
8. Antioxidant Properties: Dark chocolate is one of the most powerful antioxidants.  It’s rich in biologically active compounds such as catechins, flavanols, and polyphenols that function as powerful antioxidants.
9. Reduce Stress: Researchers affiliated to the Loma Linda University suggested that compounds in dark chocolate have positive effects on brain health and may reduce stress levels. 
Please note that this content should never be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.
 Heinrich U. et al. 2006. Long-term ingestion of high flavanol cocoa provides photoprotection against UV-induced erythema and improves skin condition in women. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16702322.
 Rostami, A. et al. 2015. High-cocoa polyphenol-rich chocolate improves blood pressure in patients with diabetes and hypertension https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4460349/.
 Candies, chocolate, dark, 70-85% cacao solids Nutrition Facts & Calories https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/sweets/10638/2.
 Dark chocolate (70% cacao) effects human gene expression: Cacao regulates cellular immune response, neural signaling, and sensory perception https://www.fasebj.org/doi/10.1096/fasebj.2018.32.1_supplement.755.1.
 Fisher ND. et al. 2003. Flavanol-rich cocoa induces nitric-oxide-dependent vasodilation in healthy humans. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14654748.
 Messaoudi M. et al. 2008. Antidepressant-like effects of a cocoa polyphenolic extract in Wistar-Unilever rats. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19000380.
 Hooper L. et al. 2012. Effects of chocolate, cocoa, and flavan-3-ols on cardiovascular health: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22301923.
 Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit”: A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products https://bmcchem.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1752-153X-5-5.
 New studies show dark chocolate consumption reduces stress and inflammation, while improving memory, immunity and mood https://news.llu.edu/for-journalists/press-releases/new-studies-show-dark-chocolate-consumption-reduces-stress-and-inflammation-while-improving-memory-immunity-and-mood.
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By Mike Westerdal CPT
Can you guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat?
This is especially important if you spend a significant amount of time sitting every day (I do, and this really affects me in a big way!)
Working this "hidden survival muscle" that most people are simply not training because no-one ever taught them how will boost your body shape, energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
If this "hidden" most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.
d) Hip Flexors
Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!
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