5 Surprising Health Benefits of Eating Dark Chocolate

5 Surprising Health Benefits of Eating Dark Chocolate

Introduction

Who doesn't love a good piece of chocolate? But did you know that eating dark chocolate can actually be good for your health?

That's right, this sweet treat can offer some surprising benefits that you may not have even considered before.Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients that can positively affect your health. Made from the seed of the cacao tree, it’s one of the best sources of antioxidants you can find. Studies show that dark chocolate can improve your health and lower the risk of heart disease.

In this blog post, we'll explore 5 health benefits of dark chocolate or cocoa that are supported by science which will surprise you.

  1. Rich in Antioxidants

Dark chocolate is an excellent source of antioxidants, which play a crucial role in safeguarding your body against the detrimental effects of free radicals. These unstable molecules have the potential to inflict damage upon cells, thereby contributing to the onset of diverse health issues.

By consuming dark chocolate, you can avail yourself of its abundant antioxidant content, which aids in counteracting free radicals and impeding their harmful impact. The presence of antioxidants in dark chocolate acts as a protective shield, effectively neutralizing these unstable molecules and thwarting their ability to cause damage.

  1. May Lower Blood Pressure

Research has suggested that dark chocolate may help to lower blood pressure in some people. One study found that consuming dark chocolate daily for two weeks resulted in a small reduction in blood pressure in people with hypertension.

However, more research is needed to fully understand the effects of dark chocolate on blood pressure.

  1. May Improve Brain Function

This sweet treat offers a range of benefits for brain health and alertness. Thanks to the natural presence of caffeine and theobromine, dark chocolate becomes a delightful ally in improving cognitive function and promoting heightened mental alertness. These compounds work synergistically to stimulate brain activity and enhance focus and concentration.

Furthermore, dark chocolate is a powerhouse of flavonoids, a group of plant-based compounds known for their potent antioxidant properties. These flavonoids have been extensively studied and are believed to have a positive impact on cognitive abilities. By supporting healthy blood flow to the brain and reducing oxidative stress, they can potentially enhance memory, learning, and overall cognitive performance.

  1. Full of nutrients

If you buy quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, you'll discover that it is not only a delicious treat but also quite nutritious.

One of the notable advantages of dark chocolate is its decent amount of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber aids in maintaining a healthy digestive system by promoting regular bowel movements and preventing constipation.

A 100-gram bar of dark chocolate with 70–85% cocoa contains:

  • 11 grams of fiber
  • 66% of the DV for iron
  • 57% of the DV for magnesium
  • 196% of the DV for copper
  • 85% of the DV for manganese

In addition, it has plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium.

Of course, 100 grams (3.5 ounces) is a fairly large amount and not something you should be consuming daily. These nutrients also come with 600 calories and moderate amounts of sugar.

  1. May Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease

Recent studies indicate that the consumption of dark chocolate may potentially contribute to reducing the risk of heart disease. One noteworthy study revealed a correlation between consuming dark chocolate at least twice a week and a diminished likelihood of developing calcified plaque within the arteries.

Nevertheless, further research is required to comprehensively grasp the intricate connection between dark chocolate and its impact on cardiovascular health.

The gist

So, there you have it – five surprising health benefits of eating dark chocolate. Of course, it's important to keep in mind that not all chocolate is created equal. When selecting chocolate, opt for dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa solids, as this will provide the most health benefits.

As with anything, it's also important to enjoy chocolate in moderation. While dark chocolate can offer some health benefits, it is still high in calories and sugar. So, be sure to enjoy it as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

References:

  1. Ding, E. L., et al. (2006). Chocolate and prevention of cardiovascular disease: a systematic review. Nutrition & metabolism, 3(1), 1-12.

  2. Farhat, G., et al. (2008). Dark chocolate: an acute treatment for impaired flow-mediated dilatation, hypertension, and insulin resistance. Clinical Nutrition, 27(3), 488-493.

  3. Francis, S. T., et al. (2006). The effect of flavanol-rich cocoa on the fMRI response to a cognitive task in healthy young people. Journal of cardiovascular pharmacology, 47(Suppl 2), S215-S220.

  4. Latif, R. (2013). Chocolate/cocoa and human health: a review. Nuts and Seeds in Health and Disease Prevention, 851-861.

  5. Sorond, F. A., et al. (2008). Neurovascular coupling, cerebral white matter integrity, and response to cocoa in older people. Neurology, 71(21), 1601-1606.

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