Dark chocolate is chock-full of nutrients that can help you live a healthier life. It’s one of the greatest sources of antioxidants you’ll discover, made from the cocoa tree’s seed. Dark chocolate has been shown to boost health and reduce the risk of heart disease in studies.
This article discusses seven scientifically validated health advantages of dark chocolate or cocoa.
1. It is quite healthy.
It’s quite nutritious to get good dark chocolate with a high cocoa content. It’s high in minerals and has a good level of soluble fiber.
A 100-gram bar of dark chocolate with 70%–85% cocoa contains:
Fiber: 11 grams
Iron: 77% of the daily value
Magnesium: 58% of the daily value
Copper: 89% of the daily value
Manganese: 98% of the daily value.
Potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium are all abundant in this food.
Certainly, 100 grams (3.5 ounces) is a substantial amount and should not be consumed on a regular basis. These nutrients also contain 600 calories and a moderate amount of sugar. Dark chocolate should be consumed in moderation as a result of this.
Cocoa and dark chocolate both have a healthy fatty acid composition. The fats are primarily oleic acid, stearic acid, and palmitic acid (all of which are heart-healthy fats present in olive oil). The effect of stearic acid on body cholesterol is neutral. Although palmitic acid can elevate cholesterol, it only accounts for one-third of total fat calories.
Caffeine and theobromine are stimulants found in dark chocolate, but the amount of caffeine is quite little compared to coffee, so it is unlikely to keep you up at night.
2. It’s an antioxidant-rich source
Oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) is a term used to describe the ability of a substance to absorb oxygen It’s a metric for how effective foods are at combating free radicals.
Researchers tested a sample of food against a group of harmful free radicals to evaluate how well the antioxidants in the meal might neutralize them. Because ORAC values are tested in a test tube and may not have the same effect in the body, their biological significance is questioned.
Raw, unprocessed cocoa beans, on the other hand, are among the top-scoring foods. Dark chocolate is high in biologically active chemical compounds, which act as antioxidants. Polyphenols, flavanols, and catechins are examples of these compounds.
According to one study, cocoa and dark chocolate have higher antioxidant activity, polyphenols, and flavanols than any other fruit studied, including blueberries and acai berries.
3. It’s possible that it’ll help with blood flow and blood pressure.
Dark chocolate contains flavanols, which stimulate the production of nitric oxide by the endothelium, the lining of arteries. One of NO’s tasks is to transmit messages to the arteries to relax, lowering blood flow resistance and lowering blood pressure.
According to numerous studies, cocoa and dark chocolate can enhance blood flow and reduce blood pressure, however the effects are typically minor. However, there was a study in people with high blood pressure and it revealed no effect. That’s why it’s suggested that you took this with a grain of salt. Given the vast range of outcomes among studies on this subject, more research is certainly needed.
4. It increases HDL levels while also protecting LDL from oxidation.
Dark chocolate consumption can help with a number of key heart disease risk factors. Cocoa powder was proven to lower oxidized LDL (bad) cholesterol substantially in men in a controlled research. For people with elevated cholesterol, it boosted HDL and decreased total LDL. Free radicals have interacted with LDL cholesterol, resulting in oxidized LDL cholesterol.
As a result, the LDL particle becomes reactive and capable of causing damage to various tissues, including the lining of your heart’s arteries.
Cocoa reduces oxidized LDL, which makes reasonable. It contains a large number of potent antioxidants that make their way into the bloodstream and protect lipoproteins from oxidative damage.
Dark chocolate’s flavanols can also help to lower insulin resistance, which is a risk factor for diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
Dark chocolate, on the other hand, contains sugar, which can work against you.
5. It has the potential to lower the risk of coronary artery disease.
Dark chocolate contains chemicals that appear to protect LDL against oxidation.
Long-term, this should result in significantly less cholesterol accumulating in the arteries, lowering the risk of heart disease. Several long-term observational studies have discovered a significant improvement.
Cocoa was known to decrease the risk of death from heart disease by 50% over the course of 15 years in a research of 470 older men. Another study found that eating chocolate twice a week cut the risk of calcified plaque in the arteries by 32%. If you ate chocolate less frequently, it had no impact.
Eating dark chocolate five times per week reduced the risk of heart disease by 57%. Subjects who ate almonds with or without dark chocolate had lower LDL cholesterol levels, according to a 2017 scientific investigation.
Of course, because all four studies are observational, it’s impossible to say whether the chocolate was the cause of the decreased risk. However, because the biochemical process (reduced blood pressure and oxidized LDL) is well understood, it’s likely that regularly consuming dark chocolate can help avoid heart disease.
6. It’s possible that it’ll shield your skin from the sun.
Dark chocolate may also be beneficial to your skin due to its bioactive ingredients. Sun protection, improved blood flow, and increased skin density and hydration are all benefits of flavanols (22Trusted Source). The minimal erythemal dose (MED) is the amount of UVB rays required to elicit skin redness 24 hours later.
After consuming high-flavanol dark chocolate for 12 weeks, the MED in a trial of 30 persons more than doubled. Consider indulging in some extra dark chocolate in the weeks and months leading up to your beach vacation. However, before abandoning your regular skin care program in favor of dark chocolate, see your doctor or dermatologist.
7. It has the potential to boost cognitive abilities.
There’s more excellent news to come. Dark chocolate has been shown to increase brain function. A 5-day diet of rich flavanol chocolate enhanced blood flow to the brain in healthy volunteers, according to a study. In elderly persons with modest cognitive impairment, cocoa may improve cognitive performance dramatically.
It could also help with verbal fluency and a number of illness risk factors. Furthermore, cocoa includes stimulant compounds like caffeine and theobromine, which may explain why it can increase brain function in the short term (26Trusted Source).
There’s a lot of evidence that cocoa has a lot of health benefits, notably for heart disease prevention. Certainly this does not mean that you should overindulge in chocolate on a daily basis. It’s still high in calories, and it’s simple to consume too much of it.
After dinner, savor a square or two. Consider creating a hot cocoa without any cream or sugar if you want the advantages of cocoa but not the calories of chocolate. You should also remember that a lot of chocolate sold today isn’t particularly healthful.
Select high-quality chocolate with a cocoa level of 70% or more. This article on how to choose the best dark chocolate may be of interest to you. Dark chocolates normally contain some sugar, but it’s usually in little amounts, and the darker the chocolate, the less sugar it contains.
Chocolate is one of the very few foods that tastes great and is also good for you.
What daily foods are healthy for you? Check them out here!