“I hate chocolates!” said no one ever! Chocolate is a favorite food item and is associated with positive emotions. In fact, dark chocolate is known to be rich in nutrients that are good for us. Derived from the cocoa tree seeds, dark chocolate is one of the best forms of natural antioxidants in nature. If one were to consume the organic form (i.e., not the regular ‘sugary sweet’ chocolates available in the local markets) of dark chocolate, it could help bring down the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Need more convincing? Read below to know the proven health benefits of dark chocolates:
- It is Nutritious
A bar of high-quality dark chocolate will have very high content of cocoa. It will also contain good amounts of soluble fiber and other minerals. E.g., if one buys a bar of 100 gm dark chocolate, it will have:
Fiber: 11 gm
In addition to these, it also contains zinc, selenium, potassium, and phosphorus. However, it should be eaten in moderation.
Good Fats and Fatty Acids
Cocoa in dark chocolate contains a good amount of fatty acids that are beneficial to us. It mostly contains saturated and mono-unsaturated fats with a tiny amount of polyunsaturated fat. Dark chocolate also contains caffeine and theobromine which are stimulants. However, they are not strong enough to cause insomnia.
- It is a Powerful Antioxidant
Dark chocolate contains organic compounds that act as antioxidants such as flavanols, catechins, polyphenols, etc. they are biologically active.
- It Improves Blood Flow and Lowers Blood Pressure
The flavonols contained in the dark chocolate help to stimulate the endothelium which the lining of the arteries and help produce Nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is responsible for sending signals to arteries to get them to relax. This lowers the resistance of blood flow, reducing the pressure and helps to control blood pressure.
- Improves HDL and De-oxidizes LDL
Eating dark chocolate can lower risk of heart diseases. As per research, it was found that cocoa powder can decrease the oxidization of LDL (LDL or bad cholesterol reacts with free radicals) cholesterol in men. It also helps boosts HDL and decrease overall LDL in patients with high cholesterol. Dark chocolate is rich antioxidants that enter the bloodstream and protect the lipoproteins against oxidization.
Another benefit of dark chocolate is that it reduces insulin resistance.
- Protection Against Sun
As we already know, cocoa helps lower blood pressure and even aids in reducing stress. Dark chocolate contains bioactive compounds which are great for the skin. The flavanols improve the flow of blood to the skin and act as a sun protection layer on the skin. It also helps in increasing hydration and the skin density.
Other benefits of dark chocolates are:
- It boosts brain function
- It reduces stress
However, the bottom line is that it should be consumed in moderation. Also, the dark chocolates that are readily available in the market are not always right. Look for the ones that contain at 70% or more cocoa content.