Some people make chocolate as a snack. Though consuming too much is not too good for health. However, it is different with dark chocolate. This type of chocolate may be better consumed because it has several properties.
Derived from the Theobroma Cacao Tree, cacao is naturally strong and spicy in taste while being rich in flavonols and other healthy nutrients. However, to make chocolate that is just as sweet and sweet to your taste as you think, the cocoa needs to go through a lot of processing. In fact, through several stages to reduce the bitter taste.
Thus, it is important to better understand that cocoa that is processed through techniques such as fermentation, alkalizing, and roasting, will cause more and more flavanols to be lost.
Therefore, dark chocolate or dark chocolate actually has a higher flavonoid content. So whenever someone says chocolate is healthy, they're actually talking about the flavonoids in the chocolate.
So, what are flavonoids?
Reporting from Pinkvilla, flavonoids are naturally found in cocoa beans, this is the reason why chocolate tastes like chocolate and is actually healthy.
These flavonoids are actually antioxidants that actively work to fight cell-damaging free radicals in the body and have a number of benefits, such as controlling cholesterol, lowering blood pressure and more.
Dark Chocolate Is Better To Consume
Before you start overeating chocolate or eating candy bars because chocolate is healthy, it's important to understand that not all types of chocolate are actually good for health.
Although there are several types of chocolate, dark chocolate is still the least processed, making it the healthiest. In other words, dark chocolate has the highest content of flavonoid-rich cocoa which makes it a heart-healthy snack when consumed in moderation.
Not only as a snack, dark chocolate can help improve heart health, improve brain function, relieve stress, and reduce the risk of diabetes.
Studies have shown that when it's not loaded with sugar and addictive substances, dark chocolate is actually good for the heart let alone filled with disease-fighting antioxidants that make this bitter treat good for overall health.
Benefits of Dark Chocolate
The benefits of chocolate vary according to the brand and type of chocolate. However, the United States Department of Agriculture states that a bar of dark chocolate that weighs about 100 grams and contains about 70-85 percent cocoa contains:
- a. 604 calories per 100 grams
- b. 7.87 grams of protein per 100 grams
- c. 43.06 grams of fat per 100 grams
- d. 46.36 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams
- e. 11.00 grams of dietary fiber per 100 grams
- f. 24.23 grams of sugar per 100 grams
- g. 12.02 milligrams (mg) of iron per 100 grams
- h. 230.00 milligrams of magnesium per 100 grams
- i. 3.34 milligrams of zinc per 100 grams
In addition, here are some of the benefits of dark chocolate that are good for health.
1. Helps prevent cardiovascular disease
While it may sound a bit hard to believe, evidence-based research shows that moderate consumption of dark chocolate actually helps in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Globally, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and just one bite of dark chocolate a day can help in prevention.
Dark chocolate contains flavonoids which are also found in certain fruits and vegetables. These flavonoids help in managing cholesterol levels and blood pressure which in turn helps in the prevention of heart or cardiovascular related diseases.
2. Lowering blood pressure
A study conducted by Harvard proved the link between blood pressure and cocoa. Mentioned that dark chocolate which contains about 50-70 percent of the content is actually able to lower blood pressure.
With a high flavonoid content, dark chocolate also works to stimulate the endothelium which is a smooth membrane inside the heart and blood vessels that helps in regulating blood pressure.
3. Fights cell damage caused by free radicals
Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids which are antioxidants. In other words, dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants.
Meanwhile, antioxidants have the power to fight free radicals thereby preventing cell or tissue damage due to free radicals. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants which also help prevent and treat chronic diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's. Plus chocolate has anti-inflammatory properties that support the prevention and reduction of blood vessel inflammation.
4. Treat depression and its symptoms
Despite its enjoyment, dark chocolate actually has the power to reduce the risks associated with depression. In fact, research shows that consuming about 24 grams of chocolate daily can work as well as antidepressants. That's because dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids and is known to be effective in improving mood, channeling energy, and triggering dopamine. A study by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate a day can even reduce signs and symptoms of clinical depression.
5. Helps prevent diabetes
It may sound surprising, but unsweetened dark chocolate actually works to prevent diabetes. Dark chocolate is rich in polyphenols which are full of antioxidant properties and work to build significant insulin resistance. Therefore, dark chocolate has the capacity to control blood sugar levels and aid in the management of preventing type 2 diabetes. In fact, studies have shown people who consume dark chocolate in moderation are less likely to develop diabetes.
6. Protects skin from sun damage
In addition to releasing many happy hormones, dark chocolate is also able to make the skin happy. Dark chocolate is rich in nutrients and minerals, such as vitamins A, B1, C, D, and E along with iron, calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, selenium, and zinc. In addition, dark chocolate is also rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants work to protect the skin from UV rays while calming redness or blemishes. Plus, it also works to increase collagen production and is loaded with anti-inflammatory properties that effectively work to heal skin irritations.
7. Able to improve cognitive function and prevent memory loss
Dark chocolate rich in cocoa is known to benefit the brain. Research has shown dark chocolate stimulates feelings of pleasure and joy which in turn work to improve mood, relieve stress, and increase productivity. Other studies have shown that eating dark chocolate has a direct relationship with improved memory, cognition, and mood.
Meanwhile, in fact, dark chocolate is said to have a very beneficial effect on the vascular system. Consistent but moderate consumption of dark chocolate can actually increase blood flow in the body and brain. This suggests dark chocolate also has neuroprotective benefits that can prevent cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer's and dementia.
8. Boost the overall immune system
Dark chocolate contains flavonols which are known to boost and strengthen the immune system. That's because dark chocolate is rich in anti-oxidants which means they work to fight free radicals and which helps in the protection and prevention of several common ailments.
9. Useful for maintaining exercise intensity and improving athletic performance
Dark chocolate contains epicatechin which actively works to increase the production of nitric oxide in the blood. It can improve circulation and actually reduce the amount of oxygen athletes use. Thus, it increases stamina and improves performance. Plus, it helps in the maintenance of exercise intensity for a long period of time.
10. Helps lose weight
If you have consumed unsweetened and least processed dark chocolate, it can actually help with weight loss. Dark chocolate provides monounsaturated fatty acids to our body which effectively work to increase metabolism and help burn calories quickly. Even dark chocolate is also known to reduce and relieve pain.