5 Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate has always been said to have benefits to our health, it's pretty much a bar of nutrients where some least expect it to be. Chocolate comes from the seed of a cacao tree, whereas dark chocolate contains a higher percentage of cacoa than the rest. Most people find dark chocolate to have a "nasty" taste, cacao naturally have a strong pungent taste. The range of cacao in dark chocolate is around 35% to 100%, the higher the cacao the more bitter the taste. Dark chocolate benefits most in it's nutrients, it is very low in Sodium and Cholesterol, but it is a great source for Manganese, Iron, and Copper, this information is from a serving of a 101 gram.
1. Loaded with antioxidants:
Dark chocolate contains flavonoids which can be found in fruits and vegetables to help protect them from the environment, and also known as an antioxidant. Free radicals in the body overtime can cause damaged if there is not enough antioxidants to combat it.
Antioxidants helps the body resist damage from environmental contaminants from breathing in "bad" air, or typically air pollution of any type, thus preventing free radicals to form. Free radicals can cause cancer if there are not enough antioxidants to fight it, having a good amount of antioxidants is important to prevent health issues.
Also, antioxidants help prevent oxidation from occurring, oxidation increases the chance for "bad" cholesterol or LDL to form in the arteries.
Because there is a high amount of flavonoids in cacao it can also help reduce the resistance of insulin, helping the body control it's own insulin more effectively.
2. Lowers the chances of cardiovascular diseases
Flavanols, which is a type of flavonoid found in cacao, is believe to have great influence in improving blood flow to brain and heart while lowering blood pressure. And while preventing oxidation from happening, from there on it's a chain reaction of positives, when it helps lower LDL cholesterol in essence it is also preventing blood clots and helps keep the blood flowing smoothly. Cacao antioxidants is a very good source of preventive maintenance food for the body. It will also lower or prevent arteriosclerosis which is the hardening of the arteries.
Being it helps with blood flow it will also combat against a stroke. There are many diseases which starts from having too much LDL while flavanol helps to lower the bad cholesterol and increasing the HDL or good cholesterol. Cholesterol plays a major part in any cardiovascular health issues but, it is an issue that is easy to control with some dedication and understanding.
3. Dark chocolate is great brain food
As mention in the previous benefit, flavanols create a smooth blood flow to the brain and heart, improving cognitive functions. Mostly in elders of ages 65 and over with memory issues, it is said that the cacao has helped with the impairment. Studies have shown that people who diet on high levels of cacao were able to score higher than those who were in a controlled group on a memory test. The specific chemical for this is epicatechin which is a flavaol and can be found naturally in green tea, apples, and blackberries.
4. Feel good about chocolate
Cacao in dark chocolate contains phenylethylamine which is a chemical in the brain that is set off when a person is thrilled or feeling special and in doing so it stimulates the brain to produce endorphin, a chemical which is present during the feeling of pleasure. At the same time it also carries serotonin which acts as an anti-depressant. So, dark chocolate can make you much more happier.
5. Great skin complexion
Researchers have found that the flavonoids in dark chocolate helps absorb UV light, also helps increase and protects the blood flow throughout the skin. The flavonoid keeps the skin hydrated. Researchers and studies both show that the minimal erythemal dose or MED which is the amount of UV light exposure before causing any redness in the skin had double in exposure rate after eating dark chocolate for 12 weeks. Doubling the exposure means less wrinkles too, but that doesn't mean you can stand in the sun all year round. The human body and aging is usually due to interaction with the weather and type of activity a person is bound to, flavonoids seem to slow this process causing the body to age slower or show less wear and tear.
There are more benefits in which I will update later on, the process of the dark chocolate is high on antioxidants and these antioxidants help create a wide range of benefits. One thing to keep in mind is that a bar of dark chocolate of about 100 grams will run for about 600 calories, and because of this, anyone looking to consume a few bars a day need think about their daily calorie intake in order to balance out the calories in meal plans for the day if they are on a diet. Dark chocolate contains fat from saturated source, health improvements comes along with exercise and adding dark chocolate into your diet, not just eating chocolate alone. But, overall I think dark chocolate is a wonderful super-food which can help in so many ways.