Chocolate is one of the most popular Valentine’s gifts to give a loved one; however, as with all foods high in sugar, the risks of eating too much may put you off buying it as a present. However, if consumed in moderation, dark chocolate specifically, a popular sweet treat enjoyed by many, can have health benefits, especially for seniors. But how exactly can this coco product benefit your body? Below, in the first part of our Valentine's week series, we discuss how dark chocolate can protect against:

 

Heart Disease

Usually, if a person has a high sugar consumption, they are more at risk of developing sugar-related health issues such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity. However, eating dark chocolate a few times a week could greatly reduce the risk of heart disease for many due to the fact that it contains particular compounds that work to protect the Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood from oxidation. The lower a person’s LDL levels, the less at risk they are of developing cardiovascular disease. In addition to this, eating dark chocolate can also help to lower a person’s blood pressure, thus decreasing the risk of heart disease even more!

 

Skin Cancer

According to Cancer Research UK, incidence rates for melanoma skin cancer are expected to rise by 7% in the UK between 2014 and 2035, meaning this form of cancer is unfortunately on the rise. For anyone venturing out into the sunshine, the best way to protect your skin is to wear high-factored sun cream. However, eating dark chocolate can also help protect your skin from harmful ultraviolet rays. This is because it contains flavanols that work to protect your skin cells by increasing its hydration and repairing any damage that may have already occurred as a result of past sun exposure. Consequently, consuming dark chocolate in moderation over an extended period can help prepare your skin for exposure to sunlight.

 

Alzheimer’s Disease

As people grow older, the possibility of developing Alzheimer’s Disease increases. Consequently, a way to prevent the devastating memory loss caused by this disease and general forgetfulness is to eat dark chocolate on a regular basis. This is because the high levels of flavanols in dark chocolate can increase blood flow to the brain, helping to improve cognitive function and lessen memory impairment. Furthermore, dark chocolate also contains stimulants such as caffeine and theobromine, both of which can help improve brain function quickly for a short period, meaning those who already have Alzheimer’s disease could benefit from eating it regularly.

 

Bad Moods

One of the most positive benefits of dark chocolate is that it can often function as a mood enhancer. According to research, a number of chemical compounds have been found in this coco product which help to improve a person’s mood. Furthermore, dark chocolate also contains phenylethylamine, the chemical produced naturally by the human brain when a person falls in love. Consequently, dark chocolate may serve as the perfect gift for your valentine, helping to stir up some nostalgic feelings while keeping them happy and healthy!

 

Overall, if consumed in moderation, dark chocolate can have some serious health benefits for your body. Not only can it help prevent serious diseases such as heart disease and Alzheimer’s, but it can also help improve the day-to-day functions of your body, from protecting your skin to strengthening your cognitive ability. It’s also filled with nutrients including iron and magnesium as well as antioxidants, which for seniors, can be incredibly beneficial health wise. So, this Valentines, buy your loved one dark chocolate to ensure they’re happy and healthy on Valentine’s Day!

 

For more information concerning elderly nutrition, please visit our health page or get in touch with any question or comments via our social media channels!