Dark chocolate is high in nutrients that are beneficial to your health. It’s made from the cocoa tree’s seed, and it’s one of the greatest sources of antioxidants you’ll find. Dark chocolate has been shown in studies to promote health and reduce the risk of heart disease. Here are seven scientifically proven health benefits of dark chocolate or cocoa. Also checkout our recent blog on Kidney Stones here.
1. Very healthy
It’s quite healthful if you buy good dark chocolate with a high cocoa content. It’s packed with nutrients and has a good amount of soluble fibre.
A 100-gram bar of 70%–85% cocoa dark chocolate has 11 grammes of fibre, 67 percent of the daily value for iron, 58 percent of the daily value for magnesium, 89 percent of the daily value for copper, and 98 percent of the daily value for manganese. It also contains significant amounts of potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium.
Of course, 100 grammes (3.5 ounces) is a substantial amount and should not be consumed on a daily basis. These nutrients also have 600 calories and a modest sugar content.
As a result, dark chocolate should be consumed in moderation. Cocoa and dark chocolate have a good fatty acid profile. The fats are primarily oleic acid, stearic acid, and palmitic acid (a heart-healthy fat also present in olive oil). Stearic acid has no effect on blood cholesterol levels. Although palmitic acid has the ability to elevate cholesterol levels, it only accounts for one-third of total fat calories.
2. Powerful source of antioxidants
The term ORAC refers to the ability to absorb oxygen radicals. It’s a measurement of a food’s antioxidant activity. Basically, researchers test a sample of food against a bunch of free radicals (bad) to evaluate how much the antioxidants in the food can neutralise the free radicals.
ORAC values are questioned in terms of biological significance because they are evaluated in a test tube and do not have the same effect on the human body. Raw, unprocessed cocoa beans, on the other hand, are among the highest-scoring meals that have been tested.
Dark chocolate is high in physiologically active chemical compounds that serve as antioxidants. Polyphenols, flavanols, and catechins are only a few of them. According to one study, cocoa and dark chocolate had higher antioxidant activity, polyphenols, and flavonols than any of the other fruits studied, including blueberries and acai berries.
3. It has the potential to enhance blood flow and reduce blood pressure.
The flavanols in dark chocolate can increase the production of nitric oxide by the endothelium, the lining of arteries. One of NO’s tasks is to transmit signals to the arteries to relax, lowering blood flow resistance and thereby lowering blood pressure.
Cocoa and dark chocolate have been shown in numerous controlled trials to enhance blood flow and reduce blood pressure, albeit the benefits are usually minor.
4. Raises HDL and protects LDL from oxidation
Dark chocolate consumption can help with a number of heart disease risk factors. Cocoa powder was found to dramatically lower oxidised LDL (bad) cholesterol in men in a controlled trial. For those with high cholesterol, it also boosted HDL and decreased total LDL.
5. May decrease cardiovascular disease risk
Dark chocolate’s components appear to be very protective against LDL oxidation. In the long run, this should result in far less cholesterol accumulating in the arteries, lowering the risk of heart disease.
Several long-term observational studies have seen a significant improvement. Cocoa was found to cut the risk of death from heart disease by 50% over 15 years in a trial of 470 older men.
6. Can protect your skin from the sun exposure
Dark chocolate’s bioactive ingredients may also be beneficial to your skin.
Sun protection, improved blood flow to the skin, and increased skin density and hydration are all benefits of flavanols. The minimal erythemal dose (MED) is the amount of UVB rays that are required to elicit skin redness 24 hours after exposure.
After consuming dark chocolate high in flavanols for 12 weeks, the MED of 30 participants more than doubled.
7. Could enhance brain function
The good news doesn’t stop there. Dark chocolate may also help your brain work better. In one study, eating high flavanol chocolate for five days enhanced blood flow to the brain in healthy participants.
Cocoa may also help elderly persons with mild cognitive impairment enhance their cognitive performance. It may also help with verbal fluency and a variety of illness risk factors. Furthermore, cocoa includes stimulant compounds such as caffeine and theobromine, which may be one of the reasons why it can increase brain function in the short term.
There is a lot of evidence that cocoa has a lot of health benefits, especially when it comes to heart disease prevention.
Of course, this does not imply that you should eat a lot of chocolate every day. It’s still in use.