There would be hardly a few who could turn away from chocolates. So this is for both the categories who love and those who do not love chocolates.
Dark Chocolate Is Actually Beneficial !!!
Chocolates are made from parts of cacao tree which is derived from Latin work theobroma (theo means god and Brosi means food) which means food of god.
Dark chocolate contains 60% of cacao content and has a bittersweet taste. It is made from raw cocoa beans which are a rich source of flavanols, a subcategory of flavonoids which are essential antioxidants. Dark chocolate also has a high concentration of alkaloid called theobromine, which has stimulant properties and relaxing effects. Theobromine also dilates the blood vessels and lowers the blood pressure.
Dark chocolate is also rich in antioxidants, magnesium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, fiber, and selenium.
Dark chocolate is high in fats and calories but the fat present in it is good fat that helps the body. The cocoa butter present in it contains stearic acid, palmitic acid, and oleic acid, all of which help lower blood cholesterol level.
Benefits of Dark Chocolate
- Good Source Of Antioxidants. There are organic compounds in dark chocolates such as flavanols, polyphenols, and catechins which function as antioxidants. Antioxidants prohibit free radicals from damaging the body. A study showed that cocoa contains more antioxidants than fruits such as blueberries and Acai berries, which are known as antioxidant powerhouses (1).
- Improves Blood Flow And Circulation. Flavanols present in cocoa are plant-based nutrients and play a role in keeping the platelets less sticky. This help decreasing the risk of heart attack and stroke from a clot. Dark chocolate lowers the blood pressure and improves cardiovascular function by relaxing the blood vessels (2). High the cacao content higher is the amount of flavanols and better it is for your health.
- Improves Brain Function. Consuming dark chocolate boost the flow of blood to some areas of the brain for at least a few hours which increases the performance in tasks and improves alertness (3, 5). It could be an effect of caffeine and theobromine. It is known to improve the cognitive function in the elderly, improve verbal fluency and risk factors for disease (4).
- Good for Skin. The antioxidant property of flavanol help protect the skin from UV damage, fight free radicals, and increase blood flow leading to lesser wrinkles and healthy glow. The flavanol improves skin hydration and thickness which are important for healthy looking skin (5).
- Lowers Cholesterol Level. According to a study done, cocoa consumption lowers bad cholesterol and raises the level of good cholesterol, which thereby reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. It shows that one-week consumption of dark chocolate improves lipid profile and decreases platelet reactivity (6, 7). Dark chocolate also reduces blood pressure and insulin resistance, which is another risk factor for heart diseases and diabetes (8, 9).
- Reduce the Risk Of Heart Disease. The compounds present in dark chocolate appear highly protective against LDL oxidation. This leads to lesser cholesterol to lodge in the arteries, lowering heart disease risk. Cocoa intake reduces the risk of heart disease by 50% over a period of 15 years (12). Another study revealed that consuming chocolate 2 times a week reduced the risk of calcified plaque in the arteries by 32% (13). Chocolate is inversely proportional to the prevalent coronary artery calcification.
- Keeps a Check On Weight. Studies show that eating dark chocolate before and after lunch cuts the appetite by 50 percent. Flavonoids also help decrease insulin resistance (10). It also contains healthy fats which slow down the sugar absorption in the bloodstream. It also prevents the insulin spike.It does not mean if you are trying to lose weight eat a lot of chocolate. It is effective only if used right.
- Highly Nutritious. A good dark chocolate with high cocoa content contains nutritious fiber and minerals.
- A 100-gram bar with 70-85% cocoa contains (11),
- 11-gram fiber
- 67% of the daily iron requirement
- 89% of the copper allowance
- 98% of manganese allowance
- Lots of potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium
Also, be aware of the fat and calorie content and consume it in moderation.
The rising popularity of dark chocolate is due to its numerous benefits, but that doesn’t mean you go all about eating a lot of it. A square or two after dinner should be enough.
Always check with the quality stuff. The cocoa content should be high. Lesser the cocoa content less healthy is your dark chocolate bar.
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