The Darker, The Better! Top 5 Health Benefits Of ‘DARK CHOCOLATE’
Yes! you heard that right. Dark Chocolate is nothing less than a ‘superfood.’ Loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, a bar of dark chocolate could keep your heart healthy, give you clear skin and even prevent cancer.
What Is Dark Chocolate?
Dark chocolate is a bitter chocolate, it typically contains 50-100% cocoa solids, cocoa butter, and sugar. The percentage of cocoa affects the flavour and bitterness of the chocolate. Most brands contain 70%, 85% or 90% cocoa. Higher the cocoa percentage, better the health benefits.
Cocoa contains compounds called flavanols which are extremely potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, with known mechanisms beneficial for brain and cardiovascular health. Dark chocolate is also naturally high in iron, magnesium, copper and manganese.
Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate
- Keeps Your Heart Healthy – Studies have shown, that regular intake of cocoa can have a positive effect in fighting cardiovascular diseases. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which are antioxidants that come from plants. Flavonoids improve blood circulation, lower blood pressure, control cholesterol levels, and reduce your risk of heart diseases and stroke.
- Prevents Inflammation – The antioxidants in dark chocolate particularly flavonoids and polyphenols have anti-inflammatory properties. Flavonoids help to reduce inflammation in the body and keep the vital organs like the heart, lungs, brain and liver healthy.
- Improves Brain Function – The flavonoids present in dark chocolate can enhance neurological functions. Flavonoids can help increase blood flow to the brain. A small amount of dark chocolate daily can also help to sharpen memory, augment focus and protect the brain from ageing effects.
- Boosts Mood – The fatty acids present in dark chocolate are responsible for that feel-good factor. Stearic and palmitic acids along with flavonoids that are present in dark chocolate have the potential to increase neural activity in parts of the brain linked to pleasure thus, making one feel better and happier.
- Lower Blood Sugar Levels – Moderate consumption of dark chocolate may help you lower your blood sugar level. The flavonoids in dark chocolate support insulin sensitivity, improve glucose balance and inflammation markers. People who consume some amount of dark chocolate regularly can lower their chances of developing diabetes.
So the bottom line is, there is enough evidence to show that dark chocolate is full of health benefits, but anything in excess is harmful. A square or two after dinner is an ideal amount that one can consume daily. Always check the cocoa content on the pack, anything above 60% is good. Go ahead and enjoy your treat!