20 Surprising Benefits of Dark Chocolate
There is good news for all dark chocolate lovers! Dark chocolate with cacao content above 60 per cent is supposed to be the new superfood owing to the several health benefits it can offer. Much of dark chocolate’s goodness comes from its key component, flavonoids, which impart it remarkably high antioxidant abilities.
20 Reasons You Should Eat Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate can help to improve your well-being in many ways. Partaking this sweet delicacy regularly can play a significant role in keeping you fitter and healthier.
Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate
Most people wonder whether chocolate is good for health. So, here are some of the health benefits of dark chocolate:
1. Enhances Heart Health
The cocoa flavonoids present in dark chocolate are good for the heart. It can boost heart health and reduce the likelihood of heart disease considerably. It can lower the levels of “bad” cholesterol or oxidised LDL which builds plaque deposits in the arteries. It can also assist in maintaining the HDL (good) cholesterol levels thus protecting against heart issues.
2. Protects Against Cancer
The antioxidant properties of dark chocolate can potentially extend cancer protection by diminishing damage to cells. It can neutralise cancer cell production and the associated inflammation. Regular consumption of dark chocolate can particularly prove beneficial in defending against colon cancer.
3. Treats Diabetes
Dark chocolate for diabetes can be helpful. The flavonoids in dark chocolate support insulin sensitivity, improve glucose balance and inflammation markers, the factors which mainly contribute to the incidence of diabetes. People who take dark chocolate pieces can lower their chances of developing diabetes in comparison with people who don’t eat them.
4. Advances Brain Function
The potential merits of dark chocolate for the brain can be numerous because of its flavanol content. Eating dark chocolate can intensify blood flow to a few important brain areas, which in turn leads to general alertness and enhanced performance in tasks. It can also help to sharpen the memory, augment focus and shield the brain from ageing fast.
5. Lowers Blood Pressure
Dark chocolate contains magnesium which can support the lowering of blood pressure. Taking dark chocolate can also lift nitric oxide levels in the body thereby reducing overall blood pressure.
6. Contributes to Weight Loss
Consuming dark chocolate can curb cravings because its high satiety value can help you feel fuller for a longer time. Thus, you may be less tempted to gorge on snacks which can become a factor for weight loss. Also, they are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) which stimulate metabolism to burn fat.
7. Relieves Cough
Dark chocolate is an effective cough suppressant because it is full of antioxidants like catechins, polyphenols, flavonols, theobromine. Some scientists believe it can be more effectual than common cold medicines.
8. Lowers Cholesterol
Dark chocolate has cholesterol-lowering advantages as well. It can improve lipid profile along with limiting platelet reactivity.
9. Safeguards Against Neurological Diseases
Dark chocolate can increase cerebral blood flow due to its substantial flavanol content which may help thwart age-related memory weakening. It also extends extensive protection to neurons in the nervous system and brain thereby preventing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
10. Strengthens Vision
The cocoa flavanols in dark chocolate can heighten oxygen availability and nutrient supply to the blood vessels present in the eyes, thus fortifying vision health. Studies show that dark chocolate displayed a better capability to enhance visual acuteness than white chocolate.
11. Improves Mood
Dark chocolate can be a feel-good indulgence. It is the existence of fatty acids that does the trick. Stearic and palmitic acids along with health-enriching flavonoids in dark chocolate have the potential to increase neural activity in parts of the brain linked to pleasure thus making one better happier and better.
12. Decreases the Risk of Stroke
Eating flavonoid-rich dark chocolate can lower the probability of a stroke. More research is needed to ascertain the precise quantity and type of chocolates which would most help reduce stroke risk. But it can be said that dark chocolate in moderate amounts decreases the risk of a stroke and helps us live longer.
Dark Chocolate Benefits for Skin
Some of the dark chocolate benefits for skin may include the following:
Protects Against UV Damage
The flavonoids and polyphenols in dark chocolate can protect the skin from the destructive UV rays of the sun thereby preventing sun spots and other related skin damage.
2. Fights Ageing
Dark chocolate’s incredible antioxidant qualities can aid in combating DNA mutilation which results in ageing symptoms like greying hair, wrinkles, and other diseases.
3. Hydrates the Skin
Flavanols in dark chocolate can support your skin in looking its best. You can achieve smoother skin by taking chocolate daily in moderate quantities. They fight free radicals and reinforce blood flow thus elevating skin hydration and providing skin with a glow.
4. Makes You Look Younger
Cocoa in chocolate can raise blood flow to the top-most skin layer thus making it appear young.
5. Prevents Collagen Breakdown
Dark chocolate can successfully battle stress hormones which cause collagen breakdown. Fewer collagen breakdown means fewer wrinkles and healthier skin.
Benefits of Dark Chocolates for Hair
Some benefits of dark chocolates for hair are:
Improves Blood Circulation to the Scalp
Dark chocolate can encourage blood circulation to the scalp thus allowing you to have thick and nourished hair.
2. Protects Against Dandruff
The anti-inflammatory abilities of dark chocolate can help the scalp be free from any infections. It can also stop the build-up and spread of dandruff by adequately supplementing the scalp.
3. Makes Hair Lustrous
Dark chocolate is jam-packed with antioxidants and nutrients which can help prevent hair loss and promote thick, shiny hair.
Tips to Remember While Shopping for Dark Chocolate
Certain tips to keep in mind while buying dark chocolate are:
- The darker it is, the more beneficial it will be. If you happen to eat a bar which is too sweet, chances are that it is stripped of the beneficial flavonoids to give it a more consumer-friendly taste.
- Opt for less-processed kinds that contain a minimum of 70 per cent cacao.
- It is normal to find great taste disparities from bar to bar. It all depends on the kind of beans employed to manufacture the chocolate.
Some frequently asked questions are:
1. Is It Okay to Eat Dark Chocolate Every Day?
Yes, it is okay to eat dark chocolate daily. But be sure to take it in moderation. To reap its optimal benefits, limit your intake to 3-4 cubes as it still has calories and fats.
2. Are There Any Disadvantages of Eating Dark Chocolate?
Eating dark chocolate in excess can have certain side-effects. Owing to its caffeine content, too much consumption of dark chocolate can result in anxiety issues. People with heart trouble should control their intake as caffeine can cause irregular heartbeats. Caffeine may also negatively impact other medical conditions like diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, glaucoma, and osteoporosis.
3. How Do I Choose and Store Dark Chocolate?
Some points to bear in mind are:
- If the bar has sugar or milk listed as the ingredient, it won’t contain 70 per cent cocoa content.
- Avoid buying a chocolate bar which has trans-fat. In case you see ‘partially hydrogenated oil’ or ‘hydrogenated oil’ as ingredients, do not buy it.
- Go for dark chocolate which is not alkali-processed. Some types are treated with alkali to alter colour and restrict bitterness. But such treatment destroys the antioxidant content.
- Don’t be misled by fancy packaging. High-quality chocolate is smoother in taste without the grainy texture.
- For storing dark chocolate, you may first like to divide it into serving-sized portions. Then wrap each piece in a clean paper towel before placing it in a zip-lock pouch and sealing it. You can store the zip-lock bag in the refrigerator safely for one year. Do check for any signs of condensation to rectify it immediately.
Dark chocolate is a useful health food. When you eat the right kind of it, you can forward to some amazing benefits, from healing numerous diseases to providing strength and stamina. Thus, you don’t have to feel guilty about indulging in it anymore!