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9 Ways That Dark Chocolate Benefits Your Health

Read up on all the ways dark chocolate benefits your health—and enjoy your next indulgence guilt-free.

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Photo of brunette woman 20s with curly hair eating chocolate bar isolated over pink backgroundDean Drobot/Shutterstock

Help Hair Grow

Dark chocolate contains important nutrients like copper, iron and zinc, which happen to be responsible for growing more cells—including hair. You can combine a bar of melted dark chocolate with 2 tsp. olive oil and 2 tsp. water for a moisturizing hair mask to use during your daily shower.

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Dark chocolate stack with fresh raspberries, on wooden table.BarthFotografie/Shutterstock

Combat Inflammation

The flavanols in dark chocolate are responsible for decreasing inflammation in our bodies. New research suggests that incorporating dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao, 30% organic cane sugar) into your daily diet can help fight inflammation, and thereby help prevent disease.

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Reduce Stress

The same study also found that consuming dark chocolate on a daily basis can help reduce our stress levels, which is really no big shock… I mean, have you ever had a piece of chocolate?! In addition to the sheer enjoyment chocolate provides, the flavanols in dark chocolate’s cacao help improve our body’s response to stress.

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Fight Wrinkles

Sun exposure is the enemy when it comes to preventing wrinkles. Fortunately, making dark chocolate a part of your daily diet may help protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays. It’s a win-win! For a homemade face mask that keeps wrinkles at bay, soften 1 tbsp. coconut oil in the microwave, then mix in 2 tbsp. dark cocoa powder (at least 70% cocoa).

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Lower Blood Pressure

The flavanols in dark chocolate are a plant chemical that has been linked to significantly reducing blood pressure. Flavanols help relax the blood vessels in our body, which improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure at the same time. One study even found that people with high blood pressure who regularly ate dark chocolate experienced lowered blood pressure overall.

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Fortify Your Teeth

Chocolate helping teeth? Just hear us out: dark chocolate contains a compound called CBH, which is currently being studied for its ability to protect teeth and harden tooth enamel. Some dentists even believe that they might start adding the compound to toothpaste as a way to help prevent tooth decay.

See what foods can offer natural teeth whitening.

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Chocolate truffle with avocado and cocoa powder on a brown background.zefirchik06/Shutterstock

Hydrate Dry Skin

Aside from iron and calcium, dark chocolate also contains superstar vitamins (namely A, B1, C, D and E) that help renew and moisturize our skin. Make a hydrating face cream at home by mixing 2 tbsp. dark cocoa powder (at least 70% cocoa), 2 tbsp. plain yogurt and 1 tbsp. mashed avocado.

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Improve Memory

More good news! The higher the concentration of cacao in your treat, the greater and more positive impact it has on memory and other cognitive factors—a notable benefit highlighted by one study’s research.

Dig into these dark chocolate dessert recipes—just remember to share.

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Chocolate heart on wooden backgroundVitaly Korovin/Shutterstock

Protect the Heart

The flavanols in dark chocolate that help lower blood pressure are the same ones responsible for maintaining a strong heart. In fact, eating at least 6 grams of dark chocolate on a daily basis has been said to reduce the risk of heart disease. That means nibbling on one or two small dark chocolate squares once a day is good for a healthy heart.

Taylor Murphy
Taylor is a food, parenting and health writer. When she's not writing about the newest Oreo flavor or her favorite kitchen appliance, she can be found searching for her next coffee fix or taste-testing recipes with her daughter.