There are some dark chocolate health benefits that you might not know and that might surprise you. Many studies have shown that it can improve blood flow and lower blood pressure, although these effects are usually mild.
In a study, it was found that it significantly reduces the value of oxidized LDL ("bad") cholesterol in men (oxidized LDL means that LDL cholesterol reacted with free radicals).
It also increased the value of HDL ("good") cholesterol and reduced the proportion of LDL cholesterol in those with high total cholesterol. Certain compounds appear to provide high protection against LDL oxidation.
In the long run, this should cause much less cholesterol to be retained in the artery walls, which in turn reduces the risk of developing heart disease.
The bioactive compounds can also be great protection for your skin. Flavanols (one of several classes of flavonoids) can protect against sun damage, improve blood flow to the skin, increase skin density and hydration.
It can improve the function of your brain. One study on healthy volunteers showed that five days of consuming cocoa with a high content of flavanols improves blood flow to the brain.
This greedy food is a better source of fibre than its dairy counterparts. It also contains carbohydrates, sugars and proteins. From a caloric point of view, it has a slightly lower intake than milk. However, it is food whose caloric intake should not be underestimated.
Among the beneficial substances present in the dark type are antioxidants. These are polyphenolic compounds that can prevent cellular ageing by counteracting the action of free radicals. Furthermore, it is rich in important mineral salts.
By helping lower the level of ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL) in the blood and high blood pressure, it prevents the risk of heart disease. Moreover, thanks to its anticoagulant properties, it promotes better blood circulation.
Eating a little bit also helps lift your mood and feel more energetic throughout the day. This beneficial effect appears to be related to the stimulation of a neurotransmitter known as serotonin.
At the same time, the high concentration of theobromine and caffeine contained in it makes it a stimulating food.
Therefore, it should be consumed in limited doses in case of anxiety symptoms and conditions of pregnancy and lactation. Due to its vasodilating effect, it should also be avoided when suffering from headaches.
Diabetics will have to be careful, even if some pure dark tablets do not contain sugar.
Dark Chocolate Benefits
Those who follow a certain weight loss diet are often forced to eliminate sugary foods. However, it is not necessary to give up entirely.
This type without sugar would promote weight loss. It is desirable to eat it for breakfast.
During other meals, this should be assessed based on other foods eaten and relative calorie intake. In any case, it is important not to exceed and connect one or more squares of the tablet with a healthy and balanced diet.
According to the recommended dietary indications, you could consume an average dose of 30 grams.
For those who like to enjoy a square every day, it is better to limit the amount to between 5 and 15 grams. Although it contains saturated fats, this type does not seem to affect the increase in blood cholesterol levels.
The vegetable fats contained in it are easily converted into unsaturated fats in our bodies. Among other things, the saturated fats present are mainly stearic acid, oleic acid and palmitic acid.
Palmitic acid is a saturated fatty acid that can raise LDL cholesterol levels. Overall, the synergistic action of these fats determines a theoretically neutral effect on blood cholesterol levels.
It is rich in nutrients, and cocoa is one of the best sources of antioxidants in the world. Research shows that it can improve health and reduce the risk of heart disease.
It also contains healthy fats. The fats it consists of are mostly saturated and monounsaturated with a small amount of polyunsaturated fats, and this type of fat is desirable in the daily diet.
It also contains stimulants such as caffeine and theobromine, which we also find in coffee. But you should not worry about whether it will keep you awake at night because the amounts of these stimulants are very low compared to coffee.
Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and prevent oxidative stress, which can cause great damage to cells and tissues in the body, accelerate the ageing process and contribute to the development of various diseases.
It consists of organic biologically active compounds that act as antioxidants and include but are not limited to, polyphenols, flavanols, and catechins.
Antioxidant compounds have a long-term effect on the secretion of lower amounts of cholesterol in the arteries, which results in a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
Benefits of eating dark chocolate
Research has shown that cocoa powder lowers oxidized LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol that reacts to free radicals) and increases HDL cholesterol which leads to lower total cholesterol.
If oxidized cholesterol predominates, tissue damage can occur in the body, especially the artery walls. It is the large amounts of antioxidants that can protect the bloodstream from oxidative damage.
It can also lower blood sugar levels and the risk of developing diabetes which is one of the main causes of heart disease.
Studies conducted on older men indicate that consuming it over 15 years can reduce the risk of death from heart disease by as much as 50 per cent.
Another study found that its consumption up to two or three times a week reduces plaque in the arteries by up to 32%. Also, one study found that its consumption more than five times a week reduces heart disease by as much as 57%.
Bioactive compounds affect the health and beauty of the skin. Flavonoids can protect the skin from the sun, increase blood flow to skin cells and the quality and hydration of the skin.
One study found that those who consumed it for 12 weeks had better skin resistance to UVB radiation. If you are planning a vacation on the beach with lots of sun, include it in your diet a few months before going to sea.
Cocoa can also help improve cognitive function in the elderly who have already experienced cell damage. It is compounds like caffeine and theobromine that can be key in improving brain function in the short term.
From the above, we conclude that there is significant evidence that it can affect overall health, especially cardiovascular health. But, although it is healthy and nutritious, it is quite high in calories, so it should be consumed in moderation.
100 grams has about 600 calories and moderate amounts of sugar, so it is not recommended to eat the same weight in one day. 20 to 30 grams is recommended after lunch or after dinner.
Choose only with a high cocoa content of 70, 85 or even 95%, because this way you will get larger amounts of healthy flavanols in your body.
Thus, research shows that even small amounts give a similar blood pressure lowering potential compared to extensive dietary measures that have proven effective in reducing vascular problems.
What are the benefits of dark chocolate?
A study published in the American Heart Journal found that three to six servings of 30g a week reduced the risk of heart failure by 18 per cent. When it comes to the heart, especially in people with hypertension, a recent study found that daily consumption helps lower systolic blood pressure (so-called upper blood pressure) by 4 mmHg.
This is not bad news at all given that medications usually lower systolic blood pressure by about 9 mmHg. Researchers claim that flavanols signal your body to dilate blood vessels, in turn lowering blood pressure.
A 2018 study of more than 150,000 people, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that snacking on 70 grams a week is associated with a 10 per cent lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
It appears to act as a prebiotic, which means that it contains fibre that serves as food for probiotic bacteria and can support the intestinal microbiome.
The active ingredients have a strong protective effect on LDL particles, preventing them from oxidizing and depositing in the arterial wall.
In the long run, this would have a beneficial effect on the arteries because, if cholesterol is not deposited in the wall of these blood vessels, the risk of heart disease, in the long run, is greatly reduced. Several long-term observational studies show a rather drastic improvement.
A study on healthy volunteers showed that 5 days of consuming high flavanol cocoa improves blood flow to the brain. It can also significantly improves brain function in the elderly with a certain level of mental deterioration.
It also improves verbal fluidity and several risk factors for disease. Cocoa also contains stimulants such as caffeine and theobromine, which may be a key reason why this food improves brain function in the short term.
It is compatible with the development of good intestinal bacteria, helping in the second stage of brain health.
Lactobacilli and bifidobacteria are the two most widespread friendly bacteria in the gut and are found in most probiotic supplements and fermented foods, acting as antioxidants, protecting the brain from free radicals.
Now, knowing all dark chocolate health benefits, it is probably going to encourage the readers to up their consumption.
Calling all chocoholics!
Your addiction can actually be a healthy benefitto save your life!
In a recent study researchers found individuals who consumed the highest levels had a 37% reduction in cardiovascular disease and a 29% reduction in stroke compared to those with lower intakes.
Experts will suggest moderate consumption, as modified chocolate will be high in calories, fat and sugar, however, when it is raw, it will not have such high counts in those non-nutritional categories, so we say, eat up!
In fact, it is loaded with antioxidants for a healthy heart helping to prevent cardiovascular-related conditions.
Top four benefits, cure your health and your cravings:
1. Helps You Eat Less (Fatty Foods)
Danish researchers conducted a experiment and gave 16 participants 100g of either dark or milk chocolate then 2 hours later offered pizza to them.
Results: Those who consumed the dark ate 15% fewer calories than those who had the milk option.
Also, those who consumed the dark were turned off by the fatty, salty, and sugary foods.
2. Helps You Fall in Love
It also contains phenethylamine, which triggers the release of endorphins.
This is a similar reaction when two people fall in love.
According to experts, doctors at the Mind Lab in England asked six couples to let squares of dark melt in their mouths and then kiss, all while hooked up to brain and heart monitors.
Both tasks made participants’ hearts pound and brains buzz, but the effects of the cacao doubled excitation rates in the brain’s pleasure center during the kiss, especially in women.
The blend of cacao’s sugar and caffeine produces a longer-lasting high, according to researchers from the study.
3. It Relaxes You
Ever wonder why we dig endlessly through our purses or fight through the checkout line, desperate to indulge in that one last piece?
Well, the biological reason for that was proven in studies that have shown chocolate containing the compound anandamide, which triggers the release of mood-enhancing chemicals in the human brain, which allow you to relax.
4. Makes Your Smarter, in Math
Flavonols compounds found in it have antioxidant-like properties, which are thought to improve circulation, including blood flow to the brain.
In a 2009 study participants were asked to count backward in groups of three from a number between 800 and 999.
As the experiment began, and after drinking hot cocoa filled with flavonols, the participants were able to do calculations more quickly and accurately and were less likely to feel tired or mentally drained.