Consuming high-cocoa dark chocolate in moderation can provide antioxidants and minerals as well as possibly reduce your risk of heart disease. Yet, it could also be heavy in calories and sugar.
Dark chocolate contains a variety of health-promoting elements. The cacao tree’s seed is used to make cocoa, which is one of the finest sources of antioxidants.
According to studies, eating dark chocolate can enhance your health and reduce your chance of developing heart disease. Here are some scientifically proven health benefits of dark chocolate or cocoa.
It is highly nourishing if you get excellent dark chocolate with a high cocoa content. It is mineral-rich and respectably high in soluble fiber.
A 100-gram bar of 70-85% cocoa dark chocolate has the following ingredients:
- Fiber 11 grams
- 66% of the iron DV
- 57% of the magnesium DV
- 196% of the copper DV and 85% of the manganese DV
- Contains high amounts of selenium, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc.
Understandably, 100 grams (3.5 ounces) is a large portion size and should not be consumed frequently. Moreover, there are 600 calories and a trace amount of sugar in these nutrients.
As a result, dark chocolate should only be ingested occasionally. A healthy fatty acid composition can be found in cocoa and dark chocolate. Regarding the body’s cholesterol levels, stearic acid has no impact. Palmitic acid has the ability to raise cholesterol levels even if only one-third of the total calories come from fat.
Although it includes 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.
Powerful Source of Antioxidants
ORAC stands for oxygen radical absorption capacity. It acts as an indicator of a food’s potential for antioxidants.
In essence, scientists test a sample of food to see how well the antioxidants in the meal can combat a group of dangerous free radicals.
According to this study, cocoa has a high antioxidant content. Yet, ORAC’s biological relevance is questioned because it is assessed in a test tube and may not have the same effects on the body.
People haven’t traditionally conducted extensive research into the breadth of antioxidant benefits of chocolate. Yet, experts contend that more information is needed before drawing any definitive conclusions.
There are many organic substances in dark chocolate that have biological activity and serve as antioxidants. Among others, these include catechins, flavanols, and polyphenols. According to research, the polyphenols in dark chocolate may help lower some forms of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol when ingested with other foods like almonds and cocoa.
One study found that compared to all other fruits examined, including blueberries and acai berries, cocoa, and dark chocolate had the highest levels of polyphenols, flavanols, and antioxidant activity.
Increases Blood Flow and Lowers Blood Pressure
Nitric oxide production by the endothelium, the lining of arteries, can be stimulated by the flavonoids in dark chocolate.
NO’s role includes instructing the arteries to relax, which reduces blood flow resistance and decreases blood pressure.
Even though the results are typically modest, several controlled research has demonstrated that cocoa and dark chocolate can enhance blood flow and reduce blood pressure.
Yet one study in individuals with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure revealed no effect, so take this with a grain of salt. For people who are already taking medication for high blood pressure, it’s probable that adding cocoa flavanols to the diet won’t offer any further advantages.
Could Improve Brain Function
The good news is still on the way. Moreover, dark chocolate might enhance brain function.
Young people who eat chocolate with a high flavanol content have better blood flow to their brains, according to studies. This may provide some insight into why frequent cocoa consumption appears to improve language learning, memory, and attention.
Moreover, cocoa flavonoids may support cognitive function in elderly people with moderate cognitive impairment and reduce the risk of dementia. Nonetheless, more study is required.
Moreover, cocoa contains stimulants like theobromine and caffeine, which may play a significant role in how effectively it can temporarily improve brain function.
May Protect Your Skin From the Sun
The bioactive ingredients in dark chocolate could be good for your skin as well. The flavonols can protect against UV rays, improve skin hydration and density, and promote blood flow to the skin.
The smallest number of UVB photons needed to make the skin red for 24 hours after exposure is known as the minimum erythemal dose (MED).
Studies have shown that after consuming dark chocolate or cocoa with a high flavanol content for 12 weeks, MED can increase and even triple. Your skin is consequently more sun-protected.
In the weeks and months leading up to your beach vacation, think about increasing your intake of dark chocolate. But first, see a doctor or dermatologist before foregoing your regular skincare routine in favor of more dark chocolate.
Improves HDL and protects against LDL oxidation
Several important heart disease risk factors can be reduced by eating dark chocolate. The risk of high cholesterol may be reduced.
In a small study, it was shown that consuming dark chocolate with the flavanol lycopene added helped reduce triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels. Certain LDL cholesterol subtypes are more likely to oxidize when they come into touch with the body’s natural free radicals.
The fact that cocoa lowers LDL, which is prone to oxidation, is very logical. It has a lot of strong antioxidants that can go into the bloodstream and protect lipoproteins from oxidative damage.
You can also read: The Right Diet Plan
Many studies have demonstrated the powerful health benefits of cocoa, including its capacity to fend off heart disease. Nevertheless, this does not suggest that you should consume excessive amounts of chocolate every day. It is easy to overeat and still has a lot of calories.
Have one or two squares after supper and make an effort to appreciate them. If you want the health benefits of cocoa without the calories in chocolate, make hot cocoa without any cream or sugar.
Choose high-quality products, including dark chocolate with a cocoa level of at least 70%. Check out this article for advice on where to buy the best dark chocolate.