Dark Chocolate: 7 Health Benefits


Dark Chocolate: 7 Health Benefits

Consuming high-cocoa dark chocolate in moderation can provide antioxidants and minerals as well as possibly reducing your risk of heart disease. However, it might also be high in calories and sugar.

Nutrient-rich dark chocolate can improve your health.

It's one of the best sources of antioxidants you can find and is made from cacao tree seeds.

Studies have shown that eating dark chocolate can help you feel better and reduce your risk of developing heart disease.

Here are 7 Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate or Cocoa


Dark Chocolate: 7 Health Benefits

1. Extremely Nourishing

If you purchase premium dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, it is quite nutritious.

It is rich in minerals and has a good amount of soluble fiber.

Contains: in a 100-gram bar of dark chocolate containing between 70 and 85 percent cocoa.

• 11 grams of dietary fiber.

• 6.66% of the DV for iron.

• 57% of the daily value for magnesium.

• 1 66% of the DV for copper.

• 85% of the Daily Value (DV) for manganese.

It also contains a good amount of selenium, zinc, phosphorus, and potassium.

Obviously, 100 grams (3.15 ounces) is a substantial serving size and not something you should consume regularly. 600 calories and a small amount of sugar are also included with these nutrients.

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Dark chocolate is best enjoyed in moderation because of this.

Dark chocolate and cocoa have a good fatty acid profile as well. Oleic acid, a heart-healthy fat also presents in olive oil, stearic acid, and palmitic acid make up the majority of the fats.

The stearic acid has no effect on the cholesterol in the body. Although only accounting for one-third of the total calories in fat, palmitic acid can increase cholesterol levels.

Although it contains stimulants like theobromine and caffeine, dark chocolate is unlikely to keep you up at night because its caffeine content is so much lower than that of coffee.

Iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, fiber, and a few other minerals can all be found in abundance in high-quality dark chocolate.


2. Strong Source of Antioxidants

Oxygen radical absorbance capacity, or ORAC, is a term. It is a gauge of a food's antioxidant capacity.

In essence, scientists test a food sample against a group of harmful free radicals to see how well the food's antioxidants can neutralize them.

These studies indicate that chocolate contains a lot of antioxidants. However, because ORAC is measured in a test tube and might not have the same impact on the body, its biological relevance is contested.

The range of chocolate's antioxidant effects is not always consistent in human research. However, experts claim that there isn't enough data to make a definitive claim just yet.

Organic substances that are biologically active and serve as antioxidants are abundant in dark chocolate. Catechins, flavanols, and polyphenols are a few examples of these. When combined with other foods like almonds and cocoa, the polyphenols in dark chocolate may help lower some types of LDL ("bad") cholesterol, according to research.

One study found that, compared to all other fruits tested, including blueberries and acai berries, cocoa and dark chocolate had the highest levels of polyphenols, flavanols, and antioxidant activity.

Strong antioxidants are abundant in cocoa and dark chocolate. Compared to most other foods, they actually have a lot more.


3. May Lower Blood Pressure and Increase Blood Flow

Nitric oxide (NO), which lines the arteries, can be stimulated to produce by the flavonoids in dark chocolate (5).

One of NO's functions is to tell the arteries to relax, which lowers the blood flow resistance and lowers blood pressure.

Although the effects are typically slight, numerous controlled studies have demonstrated that cocoa and dark chocolate can enhance blood flow and lower blood pressure.

Take this information with a grain of salt, though, as one study in people with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure found no effect. It's possible that adding cocoa flavanols to the diet won't provide any additional benefits for people who are already receiving treatment for high blood pressure.

It is obvious that additional research is required given the significant differences between studies on this topic.

The bio-active ingredients in cocoa may increase blood flow through the arteries and lower blood pressure in a small but statistically significant way.


4. Increases HDL and Guards Against LDL Oxidation

A number of significant risk factors for heart disease can be reduced by eating dark chocolate. High cholesterol may be prevented by it.

In a small study, it was discovered that eating dark chocolate with the flavanol lycopene added helped lower levels of triglycerides, LDL ("bad") cholesterol, and total cholesterol.

Some LDL cholesterol variants are more likely to oxidize, which takes place when they interact with the body's natural free radicals. When an LDL particle is oxidized, it becomes reactive and capable of inflicting damage on other tissues, including the lining of the arteries in your heart.

It makes complete sense that cocoa reduces LDL that is prone to oxidation. It is loaded with potent antioxidants that can enter the bloodstream and shield lipoproteins from oxidative damage.

Dark chocolate's flavanols can also lessen insulin resistance, which is a well-known risk factor for illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.

The presence of sugar in dark chocolate, however, may have the opposite effect.

Several significant disease risk factors are reduced by dark chocolate. It enhances insulin sensitivity and decreases oxidation-prone LDL.


5. Could Lower the Risk of Heart Disease

The components in dark chocolate seem to be very effective at preventing LDL oxidation.

Long-term heart disease risk should be reduced as a result of much less cholesterol building up in the arteries.

In fact, studies indicate a fairly significant improvement.

Consuming chocolate or cocoa that is high in flavanols has been shown to lower blood pressure over time and improve cardiovascular health in numerous studies.

According to a review of studies, eating chocolate three times per week reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by 9%. However, eating chocolate more frequently had little added health benefit.

According to another study, consuming 45 grams of chocolate per week reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by 11%. A weekly intake of over 100 grams does not seem to have any positive effects on health.

According to a 2017 clinical trial, subjects who ate almonds with or without dark chocolate had lower LDL cholesterol levels.

More research is required to determine whether the risk was decreased by the chocolate, despite the fact that all of these findings are encouraging.

However, since the biological mechanism is well understood (lower blood pressure and lower levels of LDL that are susceptible to oxidation), it is conceivable that regularly consuming dark chocolate may lower the risk of heart disease.

According to research, people who consume a moderate amount of chocolate have a lower risk of developing heart disease.


6. May Offer Sun Protection For Your Skin

Dark chocolate contains bioactive substances that may be beneficial for your skin.

The flavanols can increase skin density and hydration, protect against sun damage, and improve blood flow to the skin.

The amount of UVB radiation needed to cause skin to become red 24 hours after exposure is known as the minimal erythemal dose (MED).

After 12 weeks of consuming high-flavanol dark chocolate or cocoa, studies have shown that MED can rise and even double. As a result, your skin is better shielded from the sun.

Take extra dark chocolate in the weeks and months before your beach vacation if you're planning one. But before skipping your usual skin care routine in favor of more dark chocolate, consult your physician or dermatologist. And keep in mind that nothing can replace sunscreen and other forms of sun protection like chocolate.

According to studies, cocoa's flavanols can increase skin blood flow and shield it from sun damage.


7. Possible Enhancement of Brain Activity

There is still good news to come. Additionally, dark chocolate may help your brain work better.

According to studies, young adults who consume high flavanol cocoa have better blood flow to their brains. Consuming cocoa regularly may help with verbal learning, attention, and memory, which may help to explain this.

Additionally, cocoa flavanoids may help older adults with mild cognitive impairment maintain cognitive function and lessen the likelihood that dementia will develop. More study is necessary, though.

Additionally, cocoa contains stimulants like caffeine and theobromine, which may be a major factor in how well it can temporarily improve brain function.

By boosting blood flow to the brain, cocoa or dark chocolate may enhance cognitive function. Additionally, it contains stimulants like caffeine and theobromine.


Final Thought

There is a lot of evidence to support cocoa's potent health benefits, which include being particularly heart disease protective. Naturally, this does not suggest that you overindulge in chocolate every day. It still has a lot of calories and is simple to eat too much.

After dinner, you could perhaps savor a square or two. Make a hot cocoa without cream or sugar if you want the health benefits of cocoa without the calories in chocolate.

Additionally, keep in mind that a lot of the chocolate available is not healthy.

Choose high-quality products, such as dark chocolate with a cocoa content of at least 70%. This article on where to buy the best dark chocolate might be of interest to you. Although sugar is usually present in small amounts in dark chocolates, the less sugar there is in a chocolate bar, the darker the chocolate is.

Chocolate is a remarkable food that tastes great and offers many important health advantages.

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