Chocolate is, without a doubt, the most loved sweet around the world. It is a good news to know that chocolates keep some good health benefits under the sleeve, apart from making us feel better. Dark chocolate is full with nutrients that can positively affect your health.Made from the seed of the cocoa tree, it is one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet.Studies show that dark chocolate can improve your health and lower the risk of heart disease.This article reviews 7 health benefits of dark chocolate or cocoa that are supported by science.
#1 It is nutritious
If you buy quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content give you quite lot nutrition. A 100g of good quality dark chocolate consist of the following nutrients.
- a decent amount of soluble fiber
- loaded with minerals.
- 70–85% cocoa
- 11 grams of insoluble fiber
- plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium
- 600 calories and a moderate amount of sugar.
Of course, 100 gramsis a fairly large amount and not something you should be consuming daily. Due to this reason, dark chocolate is best to consume in moderation.The fatty acid profile of cocoa and dark chocolate is also impressive.
The fats are mostly saturated and monounsaturated, with small amounts of High Density Lipo proteins. It also contains stimulants like the bromine and caffeine but is unlikely to keep you awake at night as the amount of caffeine is very small compared to coffee.
#2 It contains a lot of oxidants
Dark chocolate is full with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants. These include flavanols, polyphenols, and catechins, among others. One study showed that cocoa and dark chocolate had more antioxidant activity, polyphenols and flavanols than any other fruits tested, which included blueberries and strawberries, which were known to be the fruits with the highest amount of anti-oxidants.
#3 Improve blood flow and reduces blood pressure
Third benefits of dark chocolate is the flavanols in dark chocolate can stimulate the endothelium, the lining of arteries, to produce nitric oxide (NO).One of the functions of NO is to send signals to the arteries to relax, which lowers the resistance to blood flow and thereby reduces blood pressure.
Manystudies show that cocoa and dark chocolate can improve blood flow and lower blood pressure, though the effects are usually mild and slow.
#4 Raises HDL and protect LDL from oxidation
LDL is simply Low Density Lipoproteins and HDL is High Density Lipo proteins. Oxidized LDL means that the LDL has reacted with free radicals.This makes the LDL particlereactive and capable of lining of the arteries in your heart, resulting high blood pressure.
Consuming dark chocolate can decrease several important risk factors for heart disease.In a controlled study, cocoa powder was found to significantly decrease oxidized LDL cholesterol in men.
It also increased High Density Lipo and lowered total Low Density Lipoproteins for those with high cholesterol. Cocoa contains an abundance of powerful antioxidants that do make it into the bloodstream and protect lipoproteins against oxidative damage.
Dark chocolate can also reduce insulin resistance, which is anothercommon risk factor for many diseases like heart diabetes and disease.
5# May improve cardio health
Another benefits of dark chocolate is the compounds in dark chocolate appear to be highly protective against the oxidation of Low Density Lipoproteins. In the long term, this should cause much less cholesterol to lodge in the arteries, resulting in a lower risk of heart disease
Several long-term observational studies show a fairly drastic improvement.In a study of 470 elderly men, cocoa was found to reduce the risk of death from heart disease by an amazing 50% over a 15-year period.
Another study discovered that eating chocolate two or more times per week lowered the risk of having calcified plaque in the arteries by 32%. Eating chocolate less frequently had no effect. It should be highlighted that, this is good quality chocolate we are talking about, not sugary crap. Yet another study showed that heart disease dropped by 57% as a result of eating dark chocolate more than 5 times per week.
6# Has the ability to protect your skin against sun
It turns out, the bioactive compounds in dark chocolate may also be great for your skin.
The flavonols present in dark chocolate can protect against sun damage, improve blood flow to the skin and increase skin density and hydration.The minimal erythemal dose (MED) is the minimum amount of UVB rays required to cause redness in the skin 24 hours after exposure.
In one study of 30 people, the MED more than doubled after consuming dark chocolate high in flavanols for 12 weeks. This might seem like a long shot, but it has also proved that short term consumption also results in positive effects. There is hope after all. If you’re planning a coastline vacation, consider loading up on dark chocolate in the prior weeks and months.
#7 Improves brain function
The good news isn’t over yet. Dark chocolate helps to improve the function of your brain.
One study showed that eating high-flavanol cocoa for five days improved blood flow to the brain. Cocoa may also considerably improve cognitive function in elderly people with mental impairment.
It also improves verbal fluency and several risk factors for disease, as well. Plus, cocoa contains stimulant substances like caffeine and theobromine, which is a key reason why it can improve brain function in the short term.
So benefits of dark chocolate seems quite amazing!