Love and Chocolate at the Downtown Winter Market | St Paul Farmers’ Market
Love and Chocolate at the Downtown Winter Market
Not that we ever need the excuse of a holiday celebration to indulge in excessive amounts of chocolate….Valentine’s Day will soon be here….and the Market has tons of beautifully hand-crafted, decadently delicious chocolate for you and your loved ones. Also, as an added bonus and further reason to eat more chocolate, medical research has shown that eating dark chocolate has healthful benefits.
According to medical research from Johns Hopkins University dark chocolate contains powerful antioxidants. Among the most beneficial is a flavanol called epicatechin. Flavanols are compounds found in plants that fight inflammation and protect against cell damage caused by free radicals. Further research has shown that eating dark chocolate can provide the following health benefits :
Six Reasons Why You Should Eat Chocolate
- Increases heart health: The antioxidants in dark chocolate have been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of clotting and increase blood circulation to the heart, thus lowering the risks of stroke, coronary heart disease, and death from heart disease.
- Balances the immune system: Flavanols prevent the immune system from going into overdrive and reduce oxidative stress, which is an imbalance caused by cells fighting against free radicals and a common cause of many diseases.
- Combats diabetes: Epicatechin protects cells, makes them stronger, and supports the processes that help the body to use insulin better, which might prevent or combat diabetes.
- Improves brain function: Flavanols in dark chocolate has a positive impact on brain function, including better reaction time, visual-spatial awareness, and stronger memory. Though research is ongoing, one reason for this may be that flavanols increase blood flow to the brain.
- Boosts athletic performance: The epicatechin in dark chocolate increases the production of nitric oxide in the blood, which supports circulation and reduces the amount of oxygen an athlete uses while engaged in moderately intense exercise. This allows the athlete to maintain workout intensity for longer.
- Reduces stress: People who ate dark chocolate reported that they felt less stressed, and researchers confirmed that after eating dark chocolate, there were reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This may be related to dark chocolate’s effects on heart health since stress is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease