We all love dark chocolates and are fantasized by the taste of it. I myself can have a bet on the stamina for eating chocolates.
- But the question is: are dark chocolates healthy?
- Do they provide any health benefit to us?
Let’s see the awesome benefits dark chocolates bestows for us
Protection from Free Radicals
Provides benefit from disease causing free radicals which are produced by the cellular processes in the body and the anti-oxidant properties of the dark chocolates help us to fight these free Radicals. That is why they are rated as one of the top high anti-oxidant food.
Anti-oxidants include vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals which are in turn present in dark chocolate.
Cocoa Beans in Dark Chocolate contain phytochemicals and the anti-oxidant property of these helps to fight Cancer. Studies are still going on to prove this but the initial studies do suggest there positive effect on cancer treatment. – National foundation of Cancer Research. (1)
Dark Chocolates are one of the most polyphenol rich sources which is useful in case of inflammation and reducing early development of cancer.
You may be surprised to know that chocolates are in reality good for your heart.
- Lowers BP – Chocolates contain Flavanols which lowers BP and also helps to improve blood flow to heart and other organs as proved by the research from Cleveland Clinic. (2)
Another study by Harvard University proved that dark chocolate helps to fight high BP specifically in hypertensive patients.
- Balances Cholesterol level – Dark chocolate contains stearic acid, Oleic acid and palmitic acids. The major part of which is palmitic acid which helps in normalizing Lipid Levels. Research done by Southern Medical College in 2009 proved that Cocoa in dark chocolates contain Polyphenols which increases HDL levels and decreases LDL which overall balances the cholesterol. (3)
It has been studied that a 3 week use of Dark Chocolate has resulted in increase of HDL in the body while a 15-day consumption of Dark Chocolate has resulted in decrease of LDL and total Cholesterol.
Consumption of Dark Chocolate for a week has resulted in an increase of 9% in HDL cholesterol in the body.
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Nutritional Content – Good News for Dark chocolate lovers
It is very nutritious. Dark chocolate contains lots of fiber and minerals. A 100 gm of chocolate contains 11 gm of fiber, 67% iron, 58% Magnesium, 89% copper, and 98% manganese.
The percentage is as per the recommended dietary allowance for a person.
Nutrient content wise it is found that it is one of the most nutrient dense foods.
So a 100 gm chocolate can fulfill half of your nutritional needs.
The negative side is Dark Chocolate adds up to a lot of calories as well, approximately 600 calories in 100gm of chocolate.
Dark Chocolate do also contains fats which are mostly saturated ones and do contain a mild amount of caffeine which acts as a brain stimulant.
So should have a balance when it comes to nutrient contents and the calorie intake.
Flavanols and the bio active ingredients in Chocolate helps prevent exposure to sun rays and improves blood flow to the skin and prevents the damage from sun.(4), so in case you are planning to travel in sun, have Dark Chocolate, it will help in guarding your skin against sunrays.
Dark Chocolate also provides nourishment to the skin, making the skin smooth and nourished. It also works as a detoxifier removing the dead cells from the skin.
Also helps in provides glow to the skin by decreasing the stress hormones in the body.
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Dark Chocolates also improve brain function by increasing blood flow to brain. It also helps in improving cognitive ability of the elderly people.
It also helps improve the verbal fluency of the person and fighting various diseases. (5)
- Dark Chocolates helps in increasing hair growth by increasing blood circulation to the scalp.
- Dark Chocolates has an anti-inflammatory property as well which helps in reducing scalp itching and scalp infections.
Dark chocolates help in production of endorphins which help in reducing stress levels and alleviate the mood. So, in case you are feeling low or stressed, Dark chocolate can bring a smile on your face.
Dark chocolate contains flavonoids especially epicatechin in good volume which helps reduce chances of brain stroke.
People consuming dark chocolates are less prone to stroke.
Another great benefit of dark chocolate is the cure for Anemia especially in people having poor diet.
Better flow of blood to the brain which also improves the eye sight. This is due to the flavonoids present in dark chocolate.
Chocolate milk drink after any physical activity or strenuous work out is good for health. Basically 500-750 ml of chocolate milk can provide 17-25 grams of proteins which can repair the torn-out tissues very quickly. Thus, helping in a lean and fit body.
Dark chocolate also has a lot of carbohydrate content which is great for health in case you are working out or you are a sports person. It would help in reviving and restoring the lost energy back.
Strength and Endurance
Dark chocolate helps you provide strength and endurance which is again a requirement and an asset for a sports person.
Studies have found that a small chocolate before meal send signals to the brain and make you feel that you are satiated, hence preventing you from over eating. So, it is a good way to include it in your diet plan and normalize your eating habits.
Can Reduce Diabetes
Dark chocolate might help you in increasing your sensitivity to insulin, which will make it easier for your body to fight blood Sugar level. Thus, helping in reducing risk of Type 2 disease.
A Finnish study has found that Dark Chocolate is good during pregnancy as it reduces the stress levels during pregnancy.
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Useful for Asthma
Dark chocolate contains caffeine, theobromine and theophylline which together in opening constricted passages and halts bronchospasms which reduces chances of asthma attack.
Dark chocolate has lesser sugar content compared to normal chocolates, hence prevents tooth decay.
Another great use of dark chocolate is that it is used to increase amorous desires as it de stresses the mind and sends feel good factor to the mind.
Do Men Benefit More from Dark Chocolate?
Studies have been conducted and it has been found that some of the effects of Dark Chocolate are better in Men compared to Women.
- Heart Diseases – Effect against heart diseases and Strokes is more prominent in males compared to females
- Anti-Clotting Effects – Dark chocolate has also been found to have Anti-clotting effect which is more profound in Men compared to Women. (6)
Summing it Up
Dark Chocolates are not that Dark as they appear to us!!! they have a bigger lighter side to them. They have a huge list of benefits to the body, whether it is brain, blood circulation, skin, immunity, nutritional content, mood booster and host of benefits.
But it is important to choose a right variant of Dark Chocolate having the right ingredients. One thing to be kept in mind while having it is that it should have a high Cacao content in it.
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Now everyone can eat Dark Chocolates without having the guilt of increasing weight or effects to the teeth etc.
The positives/benefits outweigh far more than the negatives of having a chocolate.
Although, for me, it is always that taste of Dark Chocolate that helps me go for it!!
If you talk about daily intake of Dark Chocolate, 1 ounce or 28 grams of it is sufficient for the body.
Have Dark Chocolates but in right quantity, so that the calories and sugar intake is also kept into check along with enormous benefits to the body.