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8 Benefits Of Dark Chocolate That Make It More Irresistible

8 Benefits Of Dark Chocolate That Make It More Irresistible

Dark chocolate is certainly a delicious treat that we’ve long been told we don’t have to feel guilty about. These benefits of dark chocolate will keep you reaching for your favorite bar and feeling great about it, too.

Chocolate Can Lower Blood Pressure

One of the first studies to highlight the benefits of dark chocolate came out in 2003 and reported that eating dark chocolate daily could help lower blood pressure in people with moderately high numbers. The study, from Germany, had participants eat 100 grams of dark chocolate daily for two weeks and found an average drop of 5 points in systolic blood pressure and two points for diastolic (that’s the top number and the bottom, respectively).

Other studies have shown that eating a little dark chocolate can increase blood flow, and a later study in Germany found that limiting participants to just 30 calories of dark chocolate a day—about the equivalent of a dark chocolate Hershey’s kiss—could still lower blood pressure over time.

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It’s Also Good for the Heart

Eating dark chocolate regularly can help reduce the buildup of plaque in the arteries, reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by more than 50 percent, and even reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease among elderly people over the course of many years.

This makes sense because of the blood pressure lowering capabilities of chocolate and its link to lower levels of bad cholesterol.

Dark Chocolate is Full of Antioxidants

Antioxidants are a powerful way to protect the body from the effects of aging just by eating healthy foods, and dark chocolate turns out to have a ton of these protective molecules. Researchers found that people who ate dark chocolate had more antioxidants in their bloodstream than people who ate milk chocolate, or who chased their dark chocolate with milk.

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Delicious and Nutritious

There are many healthy nutrients in dark chocolate that can help qualify it as a healthy choice. An ounce of dark chocolate has 2 grams of fiber and is a decent source of iron, magnesium, copper and manganese; trace elements that can be difficult to pick up in your diet.

That little serving also has 1.4 grams of protein.

It Makes You Feel Good

I probably don’t need to tell you that having a little chocolate at the end of a hard day makes you feel better, but there’s a scientific basis for that boost. A chemical in dark chocolate, phenylethylamine, boosts endorphins and makes you feel similar to the feeling of falling in love.

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The small amount of caffeine in dark chocolate can give you a mental boost, too, making you feel more focused.

It Might Make You Look Better

Those antioxidants and mood boosters in dark chocolate can reduce feelings of stress and release of stress hormones, which may make your skin look better. Stress hormones can break down collagen in the skin, which makes wrinkles appear more prominent.

Flavanols in dark chocolate may also make skin healthier, improve blood flow to the skin, giving you a healthier glow, and protect against sun damage.

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It Could Be Brain Food, Too

Eating dark chocolate has also shown increased blood flow to the brain, which can make you sharper and reduce the effects of aging on the brain. Again, caffeine may help boost brain power when you eat chocolate, too.

It’s Better for Your Blood Sugar

Even dark chocolate has a fair bit of sugar in it, so you should keep servings small or take something out of your diet to make up for the calories you consume in chocolate. But there’s one more bit of good news, and that is that flavanoids in dark chocolate can help reduce insulin resistance, which can in turn prevent type 2 diabetes.

Did you know chocolate also makes your teeth healthy? Read on for more benefits.

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Sarah White

Freelance Writer, Editor, Professional Crafter

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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