Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)
Did you know?
Dark chocolate has been shown to support male fertility as it is a rich source of the amino acid L-arginine which in studies have been linked to improving sperm count and motility. The amino acid L-arginine is a component of the molecule Nitric oxide. Nitric oxide has the ability to expand small blood arteries, allowing more blood to flow to the nearby organs. This amino acid can also support female fertility in a similar way -helping increase the flow of blood to the ovaries and uterus.
Dark chocolate is an excellent source of antioxidants, which can help the health of sperm and egg cells by ‘zapping’ free radicals which can cause damage to the DNA of the cells, helping to prevent cell ageing.
Dark chocolate is high in magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron, and potassium, all of which help to maintain hormonal balance. Minerals are necessary for healthy egg and sperm count, ovulation, endometrial lining thickness, and strong bones.
Fertility issues and treatment can be very stressful indeed on both the body and mind. The magnesium in dark chocolate helps to reduce stress as Serotonin (a chemical that nerve cells release which helps to stabilise mood, feelings of wellbeing and happiness) depends on magnesium for its production and function.
Consuming dark chocolate may reduce cravings for refined sugar which is crucial in the management of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is an underlying cause of PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). In women with PCOS, insulin resistance can disrupt the monthly cycle of ovulation and menstruation and increase the risk of developing diabetes.
The darker the chocolate, the better it is for you, as dark chocolate contains less sugar- try to choose chocolate that contains 70% cocoa and above where possible. So, chocolate lovers enjoy! but not too much! – 2 squares per day max!
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