Today’s diet tip of foods that are good for the health of your back is Dark Chocolate! Many people might be confused by this, because they hear the word “chocolate” and can’t imagine how it can be good for you. And while it’s true that regular chocolate is not the healthiest choice as it contains a lot of sugar and saturated fat, Dark Chocolate is a different story!
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To be fair, Dark Chocolate also contains a bit of sugar (but not as much as milk chocolate) and should definitely be eaten in moderation. But many recent studies have shown that there are numerous hidden benefits to eating Dark Chocolate regularly.
The reason that Dark Chocolate is so much better for you than regular chocolate is that it contains a much higher concentration of cacao seeds (beans). These seeds are what contain all of the good substances that can help your body, but most are removed from milk chocolate during processing (along with a lot more sugar being added) which is why it doesn’t have the same benefits as dark chocolate. And there are A LOT of benefits:
- Dark Chocolate contains more antioxidants than most other foods, including most fruits! On the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Scale, which measures the antioxidant activity of foods, cocoa seeds are one of the highest scoring foods. Antioxidants are very important because they protect the cells in your body from getting damaged.
- It may drastically lower the risk of cardiovascular disease! One study showed that people who ate dark chocolate at least 5 times a week had their risk of cardiovascular disease lowered by 57%. Another study done over a 15 year period showed that eating cocoa seeds lessened the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease in half!
- It’s high in fiber and minerals! Along with fiber, cocoa beans contain a lot of important minerals like iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and more!
- Dark chocolate might lower blood pressure and increase blood flow! It can stimulate arteries into producing Nitric Oxide, which makes them relax. Thus, blood flow is increased and blood pressure is lowered. This could also have the added benefit of improving brain function due to increased blood flow to the brain.
- It may help some of the risk factors heart disease! A study showed that cocoa beans decreased the amount of LDL (bad cholesterol) in the body, a common risk factor, and increased the amount of HDL (good cholesterol). It also reduces insulin resistance, a risk factor for heart disease as well as diabetes.
- It might cut the risk of heart attack and stroke! Dark Chocolate reduces the chances of blood clots that can lead to heart attacks. It might also protect the nerve cells in your brain from being damaged due to a stroke.
To receive these benefits you need to make sure you are eating high quality dark chocolate with as much cacao as possible and the least amount of sugar possible, preferably organic with at least 70% cacao. And it is most important to eat the dark chocolate moderately! For best results, eat one square of dark chocolate 2-3 times throughout the day.
Now you finally have an excuse to have some chocolate!
At the Illinois Back Institute we strive to educate everyone as much as possible about their back pain and sciatica, because it is proven that the more people know about their problem the more likely they are to eliminate it!
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