Eating chocolate is something that almost no one can resist. So, what if we tell you that it is not just a guilty pleasure, but there are actual health benefits of dark chocolate?
Chocolate is made from cacao plants with high levels of minerals and antioxidants. Dark chocolate range from healthy skin to energized mood. It needs to contain 70% or more cocoa content to get the advantages of dark chocolate. The darker the chocolate, the more possible health benefits you are getting.
7 Dark Chocolate Benefits
|Dark Chocolate Benefits List||Nutrition Facts|
|Dark Chocolate Source of Antioxidants||Posses anti-inflammatory properties|
|Dark chocolate Keeps Cholesterol Levels in Check.||It also increases HDL cholesterol|
|Dark Chocolate Regulates Blood Pressure||Promotes Blood flow in the body|
|Dark Chocolate Prevents the Risk of Heart Diseases||Prevents oxidation of HDL|
|Dark Chocolate Good For Memory and Brain Function||Improves brain function|
|Dark Chocolate Good for Skin||Ensures better blood flow to the skin|
|Dark Chocolate Good for Weight Loss||Craving helps in portion control and weight management|
|Dark Chocolate Helps to Boost Mood||Uplifts mood|
Due to the presence of health-beneficial nutrients, dark chocolate is good for the skin, heart, weight loss, and memory improvement. Here are a few benefits to include in your diet.
1. Source of Antioxidants
Dark chocolate is a good source of several antioxidant compounds, such as flavonols and polyphenols. These compounds help neutralise free radicals and prevent oxidative stress in the body. Preventing oxidative stress lowers the chances of damage made by free radicals.
The advantage of Dark Chocolate is that the body also works as an anti-inflammatory agent. Therefore, it reduces the risk of chronic inflammation and protects the cells and tissues from serious damage.
- Posses anti-inflammatory properties
- Reduces risk of chronic inflammation
2. Keeps Cholesterol Level in Check
Dark chocolate is now known as a cholesterol-lowering food. The polyphenols and theobromine present in dark chocolate can significantly drop the presence of Low-density Lipoproteins or LDL, commonly known as ‘bad cholesterol.
High amounts of LDL can cause serious damage to your body by clogging arteries. Subsequently, it increases the amount of High-density Lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol.
- It also increases HDL cholesterol
- Reduces LDL cholesterol
3. Regulates Blood Pressure
The presence of flavanols in dark chocolate can stimulate nitric oxide production in the human body. Nitric oxide can make the blood vessels dilate or widen.
Moderate servings of dark chocolate are enough to increase blood vessel flexibility and ease stiffness in arteries. So it promotes better blood flow in the body and lowers blood pressure. The antihypertensive properties of dark chocolate are actually responsible for regulating blood pressure.
- Promotes Blood flow in the body
- Lowers blood pressure
4. Prevents the Risk of Heart Diseases
One of the most important health benefits is its function in keeping the heart healthy. By regulating blood pressure and cholesterol level in the body, dark chocolate prevents the risk of severe heart diseases.
It also prevents the oxidation of HDL and reduces the amount of cholesterol lodged in the arteries. Dark chocolate also offers antithrombotic effects to prevent blood clots.
- Prevents oxidation of HDL
- Prevents blood clots due to its antithrombotic effects
5. Advances in Memory and Brain Function
Having dark chocolate in moderate amounts can improve brain function. It is also helpful in preventing neurodegenerative conditions, namely Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
High-quality, cacao-dense dark chocolate improves several brain functions, including cognitive processing, visual-spatial awareness, scanning, abstract reasoning, etc.
- Improves brain function
- Enhances cognitive processing
Also Read:- Cacao Benefits
The presence of flavanols in dark chocolate can improve neuroplasticity as well. It is known as the ability of the brain to reorganize itself when encountering injuries and diseases.
6. Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate for Skin
Dark chocolate contains minerals, including copper, iron, calcium, magnesium, etc. These minerals make dark chocolate a good choice for your skin. While manganese improves the production of collagen, calcium repairs the skin. Better production of collagen protein helps in keeping the skin healthy.
On the other hand, the flavanols in dark chocolate can offer protection to the skin against sun damage. It ensures better blood flow to the skin and promotes skin density and hydration as well.
- Ensures better blood flow to the skin
- Promotes skin hydration
7. Aids Against Diabetes
While eating chocolate every day is never a good idea to prevent diabetes, eating dark chocolate in the right amount can definitely provide aid against it.
The rich cacao can improve the way the human body metabolizes glucose. Type 2 diabetes is caused by Insulin resistance that results in high blood glucose (sugar) levels. Dark chocolate is good for you as it can help in reducing fasting glucose levels and insulin resistance.
- Can help reduce Fasting Glucose
- Improve insulin sensitivity
8. Helps to boost Mood
One of the most known benefits of eating dark chocolate is boosting mood. Dark chocolate contains theobromine which is structurally very similar to caffeine. When consumed in a larger quantity, theobromine can cause a dip in blood pressure. Therefore it promotes excitability and boosts energy.
Like THC, anandamide is another compound in dark chocolate that provides a mood and energy boost.
- Uplifts mood
- Boosts energy
9. Dark Chocolate for Weight Loss
Is dark chocolate good for weight loss? Well, it is. Having dark chocolate regularly may play a role in managing your appetite.
A little dark chocolate before or after meals can activate hormones. These hormones send signals to the brain that you are full. Controlling your appetite and craving helps in portion control and weight management.
Dark Chocolate Nutritional Facts
Being a rich source of fibre, protein, and minerals, dark chocolate is a great addition to your diet. Every 1-ounce serving of dark chocolate with 70% to 85% cacao solids contains,
|Nutrition Every 1-ounce||Dark Chocolate Nutritional Value|
|Dark Chocolate Calories||170 kcal|
Dark chocolate contains ample zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, manganese, copper, and calcium. So, consuming an ounce daily is enough to get the nutrition of dark chocolate for your health. It needs to be 70% or more dark to get the most flavanols from chocolate.
Stimulants like caffeine and theobromine are also present in dark chocolate. But as the amount of caffeine is minimal, there’s a very slight chance that it will keep you awake at night.
Dark Chocolate Uses
You can get the most chocolate when it is 70% or more dark. The better the quality of dark chocolate, the more bitter it tastes. So, while using dark chocolate in any dish, one must be careful.
Dark chocolate can be used in cookies, candy bars, cakes and pastries, ice creams, puddings, hot drinks like hot chocolate, etc. But the benefits of eating dark chocolate are more in its real form than using it in cooking any other dishes.
Baking with dark chocolate is a little tricky. It is essential to heat the chocolate slowly over low heat or at around 50% power in the microwave to prevent any scorching.
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As they say, everything comes with its own good and bad. Dark chocolate is no exception. If your intake is controlled and right, then you will be showered with the health advantages of dark chocolate.
Dark Chocolate Side Effects
Although dark chocolate is full of health-beneficial antioxidants, fibre, and minerals, it also comes with some risk factors. Like any other thing, dark chocolate also has a few dark sides, but no worries, always remember that moderation is the key and in required amounts, dark chocolate benefits you.
1. High calories and Unhealthy Fats
Dark chocolate is high in calories and fat. The cocoa butter present in dark chocolate is loaded with unhealthy saturated fats.
- 10gm of dark chocolate contains 50 calories.
- 10gm of dark chocolate contains 4g of fat.
2. Presence of Sugar
Despite having less sugar content than milk and white chocolate, dark chocolate contains a good amount of sugar. So, limit the chocolate intake and opt for dark chocolate with higher percentages of cacao solids.
3. Caffeine Intake
Two ounces of 70% dark chocolate offer around 50 to 60 milligrams of caffeine. It means two ounces of dark chocolate have roughly 50% of the caffeine an 8-ounce cup of coffee contains. So, watch out for your caffeine intake while eating dark chocolates.
So, by now, you must have understood the benefits of consuming dark chocolate and how it can benefit you in various conditions like diabetes, weight loss, mood upliftment etc. In this article, we have tried to explain everything scientifically, and by now, we believe you must have understood how it actually works in the body. All you have to do is remember that moderation is the key to all foodstuff.