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Thursday, December 28, 2023

7 proven benefits of Dark Chocolate to your health

Love to munch on your favorite chocolates when feeling low? Go ahead. Biting on dark chocolates is good not only for your heart but overall health! 

According to science, dark chocolates-milk and white chocolates do not make the list, are good for healthy beings. They help in alleviating stress, improving brain function, and reducing the risk of diabetes. Being rich in antioxidants, and brimming with healthy nutrients, this bittersweet treat is considered a superfood.

Need more excuses with science backup to relish dark chocolates? Scroll ahead to explore more to heighten your love for chocolates.

A Brief about Dark Chocolates

Dark chocolates are loaded with phytonutrients like flavonoids- a plant chemical that acts as an antioxidant. These play a major role in preventing cancer, keep a check on heart health and weight too – as noted in an article in the Journal of Nutritional Science in December 2016

Chocolate is derived from a cacao plant that contains a compound called theobromine, known to decrease blood pressure and reduce inflammation. The cacao plant has more nutrients and antioxidants compared to green tea or red wine. It is said that the darker you go, the higher the antioxidants level. However, you need to have a proper balance between enjoying palatable dark chocolates and leveraging their benefits. 

Dark Chocolates Help Prevent Heart Diseases

The researchers say that one of the biggest benefits of dark chocolate is helping to prevent heart diseases. Studies published in July 2015 in the journal Heart exhibit people who eat dark chocolates have a lower risk of both heart stroke and disease. 

Another study in the journal Clinical Nutritional found that people eating dark chocolate five times a week experience 57% reduced heart diseases. The hypothesis made by the researchers infers that since the chocolates contain flavonoids that helps in maintaining sound heart health. 

Dark Chocolates Improve Cognition and Boost Mood

No, this is not imagination! In fact, the studies prove that eating dark chocolates benefits your brain. Research shows how chocolates stimulate neural activities in areas of the brain connected with rewards and pleasure. This, in turn, reduces stress and improves mood. Some studies published in the journal of Nutritional Reviews show clear evidence of improved cognitive function. 

High levels of flavonoids improve cognition, memory, and mood. Further, it is also found that these chemical compounds improve learning ability. So, next time you are planning to study, remember to have a dark chocolate bar with you. However, before you go ahead and stock up on those chocolate bars, keep in mind the maximum limit of consuming your favorite bar.

Dark Chocolates Keep Sugar Level in Check

Yes, eating chocolate every single day does not sound the best way to maintain sugar levels. But, studies show that a certain amount of dark chocolate, rich in cacao is believed to improve how the body metabolizes glucose. 

It is insulin resistance that leads to increased blood sugar. On the other hand, the flavonoids in dark chocolate reduce oxidative stress in the body which is believed to be a major cause for insulin resistance. If the body’s sensitivity to insulin is improved, the resistance reduces, thus, the body is less likely to suffer from diabetes.

Dark Chocolates Keep Gut Happy and Healthy

Does not seem sensible, right? But, it is. Dark chocolate helps in keeping the gut happy and healthy, thus, helps in weight management. A book Eat Chocolate, Lose Weight – written by a Neuroscientist, Will Clower proves every way how dark chocolate controls appetite and helps in weight loss. The book shows how dark chocolate is eaten before or after meals can trigger the hormones signaling the brain to feel full.

Of course, you need to stay within the consumption limit of dark chocolates; otherwise, the potential benefits will get counteracted.

Dark Chocolates Fight Free Radicals

As already discussed, dark chocolates are loaded with antioxidants. These antioxidants are responsible for putting up a fight against the free radicals in the body. Free radicals are those unstable oxygen molecules in search of one last electron. Because the body has no free electron to offer, these free radicals start eating up the cells of the body. This is where antioxidants come into the picture to neutralize these radicals and prevent them from harming the body.  

These free radicals are responsible for inducing diseases and increase aging in an individual. Too many of such radicals start attacking cells leading to inflammation and other diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, and heart diseases. People consuming flavonoids or antioxidant-rich foods are less susceptible to be victims of cancers.

Dark Chocolates are Awesome for Skin

Dark chocolates are packed with iron, copper, and magnesium- to name a few. These elements are beneficial to the skin. One of the most essential elements for skin is Manganese- it supports collagen production – a protein that keeps the skin young and healthy. Other minerals in dark chocolate like calcium, helps in renewing and repairing skin cells. 

When the body and skin are exposed to sun rays, the UV rays damage the skin cells- via the introduction of free radicals on the skin. However, eating dark chocolates has not shown any significant improvement in protecting from the effects of UV rays. But it surely has shown improvements in improving the elasticity of the skin that gets compromised due to the Sun. However, the exact mechanism for the same is still unknown.

Dark Chocolates are Nutritious and Delicious

Besides other benefits of dark chocolates, they are highly nutritious and delicious! The darker the chocolate, the higher the nutrition level. So, buy any 70% or higher dark chocolate containing antioxidants higher in potassium, fiber, calcium, magnesium, and copper- as stated by the studies published in the journal Antioxidants & Redox Signaling. Be mindful while eating dark chocolates because they are not a cure-all superfood!

Final Thoughts

Wondered to eat chocolate every single day? Well, you do not need an excuse anymore! Have science back you up for all the reasons in the world. However, be cautious about the intake. These dark chocolates contain fats and calories too. Keep in mind that each chocolate brand processes chocolates differently. Thus, it is always recommended to go through the labels for ingredients and know what kind of chocolate you are consuming. 

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