Dark Chocolate, once considered an infrequent treat is now a most popular food product that millions enjoy every day. Cocoa, the key ingredient in dark chocolate, contains biologically active phenolic compounds – offers all the great health payoffs. Additionally, a cocoa powder that is used in the chocolate contributes minerals, including copper, iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and zinc. Chocolate lovers, rejoice; the sweet treat is not only delicious, but studies have proven that there are huge benefits of Dark Chocolate; as it can reduce inflammation in your belly and promote friendly bacteria. So, if you want to experience these health benefits, you’ll have to reach for dark chocolate with 70% or higher levels of cacao.
If you purchase quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, then it’s truly nutritious. These antioxidants in the form of flavanols perform important health-giving work in our bodies – yet another reason to enjoy chocolate. Dark chocolate also contains high amounts of:
Flavanols are the main type of flavonoid found in dark chocolate. Flavanols have a very good effect on heart health. It improves blood flow to the heart as well as the brain and helps lower blood pressure. Dark chocolate flavanols can also help make blood platelets less sticky and able to clot, thus reduces the risk of stroke and blood clots. The results showed that flavonoid-rich dark chocolate intake improves heart circulation.
Eating a small amount of chocolate each day could prevent insulin resistance and diabetes. Chocolate consumption was also linked to a lower risk of stroke. It is suggested that eating up to 100 grams of chocolate each day may be linked to a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
This particular benefit sounds too good to be true! But the cacao in dark chocolate helps lower blood sugar levels and enhances sensitivity to insulin. As a result, dark chocolate may lower one’s risk for type 2 diabetes. Also, with type 2 diabetes, managing blood sugar levels is what it’s all about and dark chocolate in moderation can help achieve this.
Forget carrots even dark chocolate can improve your eyesight. The study has found out that participants who consumed dark chocolate with 720 mg of cocoa flavanols experienced enhanced visual performance. Due to the consumption of Dark Chocolate, it increased blood flow to the retina and brain hence, enhance reading low contrast letters, detecting motion.
It used to be a common misconception that chocolate was the cause of skin acne breakouts. But that myth has been disproved. The bioactive compounds in dark chocolate may be great for your skin. It also improves overall skin health by reducing stress hormones that break down collagen in the skin. Eating dark chocolate antioxidants leads to skin that is smoother, moisturized, and more resistant to sunburn. Today’s science has shown that dark chocolate is a great source of flavonols – a group of plant metabolites that have excellent antioxidant effects. These flavonols can fight against skin damage. Flavonoids also fight free radicals in the bloodstream improve blood flow to the skin and increase skin density and hydration. In a study, it was found that consistently eating cocoa for 12 weeks reduced moisture loss in the skin by 25%.
If you’re planning to take a vacation in the sun, consider loading up on dark chocolate in the prior weeks and months. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can skip wearing sunscreen if you eat dark chocolate.
The good news isn’t over yet. Another benefits of Dark chocolate is it can also improves the function of the brain. 5 days of consuming high-flavanol cocoa improved blood flow to the brain. Cocoa in Dark Chocolate may also significantly improve cognitive function in elderly people with mental impairment. Cocoa also contains stimulant substances like theobromine and caffeine. This is a key reason cocoa can improve brain function in the short term.
Dark chocolate has a higher Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity than just about any other food on the planet! Not even Acai berries and blueberries; the most antioxidant-rich foods around, had more antioxidant activity than raw, unprocessed cocoa beans. Pretty awesome, right? Dark chocolate has been minimally processed, which means most of its antioxidants are still intact. The antioxidants in dark chocolate will help to combat free radicals. The result is a lower risk of oxidative stress and free radical damage – both of which contribute to aging, cancer, and disease.
There are no established “dosages” for dark chocolate. But of course, this doesn’t mean people should go all out and consume lots of chocolate every day. It is still loaded with calories and easy to overeat on. Enjoy it in moderation, perhaps an ounce a few times per week. Remember, the higher the cacao percentage, the better (at least 70%). Also, never replace healthy foods (like fruits and vegetables) with chocolate.