Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate?
1. Lower blood pressure:
2. Strengthens Heart:
3. Lung functions improved:
4. Helps in weight loss:
Chocolate is the favorite snack for almost everyone, and it has been valued as a food since ancient times, but did you know it’s also good for your health? Yes, it is high in sugar and fat content. Still, it could be beneficial to your overall health when consumed in moderation because it helps lower blood pressure, strengthens heart and lung functions, aids in weight loss, and contains antioxidant properties that help fight free radicals that may cause diseases like cancer and arthritis.
Before discussing the below-mentioned benefits, let us focus on the types of chocolate available in the market! There are two types of chocolate available on the market
1. Semi-Sweet Chocolate:
This does not have the same health benefits, you can say, but since it is on the market so, let us focus on it! It tastes sweeter than bitter dark chocolate and contains vegetable fats and artificial flavors like vanillin, enhancing its taste.
So if you are eating this type of chocolate, don’t get surprised when your child asks for baked snacks made of the semisweet chocolate bar because they get the sweetness level of the food accordingly.
Also, don’t be surprised to see “contains milk” written on a Semisweet chocolate box because it is made of cocoa butter that separates into organic compounds like linoleic acid or oleic acid (which are the significant milk ingredients).
2. Bitter Chocolate:
This is a rich source of antioxidants and health benefits since it contains 70% cocoa butter and 30% cocoa solids, making 100% bitter chocolate both nutritional and beneficial for your health.
But with time, people started consuming semisweet chocolate with less cocoa butter which made them look towards 100% bitter dark chocolate! The only drawback comes when you consume too much of it that too in a day then obviously you will suffer from side effects because of chemical reactions that take place at cellular levels due to overconsumption of antioxidant present in it, i.e., A darker kind of natural unsweetened chocolate, containing primarily cocoa solids and cocoa butter.
It has a bittersweet flavor, making it ideal for use in chocolate cakes, brownies, hot cocoa, and other sweet or savory dishes that call for baking chocolate.
1. Lower blood pressure:
Cocoa contains a substance called theobromine, which helps dilate blood vessels and lower blood pressure. A chemical reaction between cocoa powder and alkali activates this effect of theobromine
2. Strengthens Heart:
Chocolate flavonols keep your heart healthy. Eating dark chocolate can strengthen your core and protect it from future damage due to overstimulation caused by the overproduction of stress hormones present in the body.
So if you think that eating chocolate will make your heart weak, please avoid doing so! In 2007, a study was published after observing 2800 individuals associated with risk factors for coronary artery disease. It was concluded that those who ate more than 40g of dark chocolate daily had less risk of developing heart disease.
3. Lung functions improved:
Another study was published in 2006 by Dr. S K Weiland, which concluded that eating dark chocolate for two weeks has improved lung function, increased oxygen intake, and reduced inflammation.
Also, it helps to reduce or control asthma attacks as well! Isn’t it great? But apart from this, an article published after observing eight-week-old infants found out that those infants given cow’s milk-based formula also drank cocoa powder daily showed less wheezing than infants who drink soy-based formula.
So if you are pregnant, try to avoid drinking hot cocoa made of cow’s milk, but you can use a soy-based drink with 100% bitter dark chocolate powder to make a hot chocolate for your child!
4. Lowers Blood sugar levels:
Chocolate may help lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, but there isn’t enough evidence yet to say for sure. It could be because the flavonoids in chocolate improve insulin sensitivity by increasing nitric oxide production, which helps in the proper regulation of insulin levels in the body.
It modifies cellular level receptors that control glucose metabolism even when a subject is stress-free or at rest. Also, studies from the United Kingdom and Sweden show that those who ate dark chocolates regularly had less chance of developing type 2 diabetes than individuals who rarely ate any chocolate! But remember this fact “if you already have diabetes already have diabetes, your doctor before adding it to your diet.”
5. Prevents cancer:
Dark chocolate contains a high amount of epicatechin antioxidant, which helps guard cells against damage caused by free radicals, thus preventing cancer.
Also, a recent study published in the February 2010 issue of ” Journal of exJournaltal & clinical cancer research” states that consumption of this chocolate-rich food can help in reducing breast tumor growth rate since cocoa powder contains procyanidins which inhibit the formation of new blood vessels responsible for breast tumor!
But, please remember not to over-consume it because antioxidants present in it are sensitive enough to get damaged when heated beyond certain limits! So if you want its benefits, then eat 100% bitter dark chocolate instead of standard sweet chocolate bars !!
6. Supports Bone health:
Chocolate indeed contains caffeine, and this stimulant can interfere with your body’s ability to absorb calcium, but dark chocolate might not be as bad for bones as once thought. An article published in the May 2010 issue of ” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” found that women who ate moderate amounts of cocoa flavonoids had higher bone density than those who didn’t eat many cocoa flavonoids.
Also, researchers at Tufts University found that cocoa powder may slow down bone loss. But remember, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, then please avoid it because excess caffeine intake during these periods may lead to low-weight babies or defective breast milk!
7. Preventing cavities:
and reduces gum bleeding! It contains a high amount of stearic acid that coats your teeth, preventing the absorption of sugars from foods. But remember to avoid using it as a powder because the presence of sugar in it may do more harm than good! So please eat at least one 100% bitter dark chocolate bar every day!!
8. Prevents Diabetes:
This is remarkable that cocoa can help lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, but the effects are negligible. To get the maximum benefit from it, you should drink hot cocoa made from water instead of milk since chocolate contains a high amount of fiber which interferes with the absorption of sugars! Also, if you are low on iron, then one cup of it will increase your intake by 9 percent! But remember not to over-consume it because excess caffeine may lead to heart problems!
9. Prevents Stroke:
Cocoa powder has a very high-fat content which decreases the production of prostaglandins responsible for narrowing down arteries, thus preventing Stroke. Researchers at Cornell University found that dark chocolate helps protect against damage caused by Stroke throughout the body, especially blood vessels.
Also, recent studies at Boston University showed that cocoa powder has almost five times more antioxidant power than green tea. It is also rich in magnesium which reduces the chances of Stroke! But remember not to over-consume it because too much caffeine intake may lead to heart problems!
10. Reduces Stress:
Without mentioning, who doesn’t like the taste of chocolates !! It is one of the most popular food items loved by everyone. Still, this very fact can cause a high intake of sugar (due to white powdered sugar) which triggers the abrupt release of stress hormones in the body, thus increasing the risk for obesity.
But dark chocolate contains polyphenols that help release neurotransmitters responsible for calming down the brain, thus reducing Stress. Also, it is rich in magnesium which helps to reduce nervousness! But remember not to over-consume it because too much caffeine intake may lead to heart problems!