Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients. There are many health benefits of dark chocolate.
The secret behind dark chocolate’s health benefit is cocoa, the source of chocolate’s distinct taste. It is packed with healthy chemicals like flavonoids and theobromine.
Read on to discover the amazing health benefits of dark chocolate.
Dark Chocolate is Very Nutritious
High quality dark chocolate is quite nutritious. A 100g bar of dark chocolate with 70% to 85% cocoa contains:
- 11g of fiber
- 8g of protein
- 98% of the RDA for Manganese
- 89% of the RDA for Copper
- 67% of the RDA for Iron
- 58% of the RDA for Magnesium
But chocolate also contains a lot of calories and a moderate amount of sugar. 100g of chocolate comes with 600 calories. This is why you should consume it in moderation.
Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate
1. Powerful Source of Antioxidant
Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidant. These includes polyphenols, flavanols, catechins, among others.
Researchers developed a test called ORAC to measure the antioxidant power of food. In the test, they found that cocoa and dark chocolate contained more antioxidant activity, polyphenols, and flavonols, beating superfoods like ginger, blueberries, and a lot more.
It’s worth noting that, the biological relevance of the metric is questioned, because the test is done in a test tube. So they may not have the same effect in the human body.
2. Balances Your Cholesterol
Dark chocolate can improve several risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Cocoa powder has been found to increase HDL (“good” cholesterol) and decrease total LDL (“bad” cholesterol) in men with elevated cholesterol. Cocoa powder is the raw ingredient in chocolate. So you can get the same benefit by eating a chocolate bar.
Insulin resistance is another risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Dark chocolate can also lower insulin resistance.
3. May Improve Blood Flow & Reduce Blood Pressure
The flavanols in cocoa and chocolate can stimulate the endothelium, the lining of arteries, to produce nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps relax the blood vessels and lower blood pressure.
Researchers caution that it only works with mild high blood pressure. There is one study in people with elevated blood pressure that showed no effect.
4. May Improve Brain Function
Researchers have found that chocolate may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
In one study, researchers gave 90 healthy 61- to 85-years old special brew of cocoa flavanols each day. One group’s brew contained a low amount of cocoa flavanols, another’s contained a medium amount, and the third’s contained a high amount.
After eight weeks, people who consumed medium and high amounts of cocoa flavanols every day made significant improvements on tests that measured attention, executive function, and memory.
Cocoa also improve cognitive function in elderly people with mental impairment.
5. May Protect Your Skin
Dark chocolate has been shown to protect against UV rays, improve blood flow to the skin, and increase skin density and hydration. This is because of the flavanols in chocolate.
So if you are planning on a beach vacation, consider loading up on dark chocolate. But never skip the sunscreen. Think of chocolate as an added layer of protection.
Dark chocolate can provide powerful health benefits. But that doesn’t mean you should consume lots of chocolate every day. It is loaded with calories.
Always buy quality products. Dark chocolate often contains some sugar. The darker the chocolate, the less sugar it contains. So buy the darker ones.
Also, make sure it contains at least 75% cocoa content. The higher the better. Avoid the bars that have added milk or vegetable oil. Both of them are sources of unhealthy saturated fats.
How much chocolate do you eat every day?