ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Health benefits of chocolate

Updated on May 18, 2012

Chocolate is made from Cacao and it contains many valuable nutrients. Therefore, it is not only very delicious, but it also has many health benefits, which are accomplished through these nutrients.

Important Nutrients in Chocolate

There are some interesting chemicals naturally found in chocolate. Xanthine, which is like caffeine, can make a person feel jittery. Theophylline will stimulate the central nervous system and relax the bronchi in the lungs and your blood vessels. Phenylethylamine (PEA) is similar to amphetamine. PEA reproduces the feeling someone has when he or she falls in love. Recent research at the University of California, Davis, has found that chocolate carries high levels of chemicals known as phenolics and flavonoids, which act as antioxidants. Epicatechins and catechins are members of flavonoids. Phenyl ethylamine is another important component of chocolate. The fats in chocolate are 1/3 oleic acid, 1/3 stearic acid and 1/3 palmitic acid. Oleic Acid is a healthy monounsaturated fat that is also found in olive oil. Steari Acid is a saturated fat but it has a neutral effect on cholesterol. Chocolate contains vitamins A, B1, C, D, and E as well as potassium, sodium, iron, copper, magnesium and fluorine. Dark chocolate also contain more than 3 times the amount of catechins as that found in tea.

Protects against cardiovascular diseases.

Dark chocolate contains a large number of antioxidants, nearly 8 times the number found in strawberries. Flavonoids help lower blood pressure through the production of nitric oxide and balance certain hormones in the body. Flavonoids have also been linked to decreasing blood pressure, improving circulation , lowering death rate from heart disease, improving function of endothelial cells that line the blood vessels, defending against destructive molecules called free radicals, which trigger cancer, heart disease and stroke, improving digestion and stimulating kidneys, helping treat patients with anemia, kidney stones and poor appetite. The research found that epicatechin in chocolate is directly linked to improved circulation and other hallmarks of cardiovascular health. Researchers reported at the 2004 American Society of Hypertension Annual Scientific Meeting in New York, that consuming dark chocolate and cocoa improves the function of blood vessels. In one new study, consumption of cocoa in healthy volunteers, aged 18 to 77, resulted in significantly improved vascular responsiveness. (The measure the researchers used looked at the "stiffness" of blood vessels. In patients whose blood vessels are "stiff," hypertension is common.) The beneficial effect was most pronounced in patients over 50 years of age. In another study, after volunteers ate 100 grams of dark chocolate vascular responsiveness was again significantly improved. Investigators postulate that it is the flavonoids in chocolate that causes vascular improvement.

The effects of flavonoids are accomplished by two mechanisms. The first is that the antioxidants block arterial damage caused by free radicals. The second is that chocolate inhibit platelet aggregation which could cause a heart attack or stroke. There have also been studies indicating that cocoa flavonoids relax the blood vessels which inhibit an enzyme that causes inflammation.

Lowers the blood pressure

Taubert's team signed up six men and seven women aged 55-64. All had just been diagnosed with mild high blood pressure on average, systolic blood pressure (the top number) of 153 and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) of 84.

Every day for two weeks, they ate a 100-gram candy bar and were asked to balance its 480 calories by not eating other foods similar in nutrients and calories. Half the patients got dark chocolate and half got white chocolate. The dark chocolate eaters had a significant drop in blood pressure, but the white chocolate eaters did not.

In the second study, Serafini's team signed up seven healthy women and five healthy men aged 25-35. On different days they each ate 100 grams of dark chocolate by itself, 100 grams of dark chocolate with a small glass of whole milk, or 200 grams of milk chocolate.

An hour later, those who ate dark chocolate alone had the most total antioxidants in their blood. And they had higher levels of epicatechin. The milk chocolate eaters had the lowest epicatechin levels of all.

In a July, 2005 report in Hypertension, Italian investigators showed that feeding 100 grams of dark chocolate daily to hypertensive patients improved their systolic and diastolic blood pressures - and lowered their LDL cholesterol levels.

Chocolate could also help prevent cancer as well as boost the immune system, according to some recent studies. All the health benefits work together and can lead eventually to longevity because antioxidants in chocolate directly protects body from aging caused by free radicals and indirectly delay aging through improved health of cardiovascular system. Some research evidence indicates that men who eat chocolate live a year longer than those who don't.

In addition, chocolate tastes good, it stimulates endorphin production, which gives a feeling of pleasure. It contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant. It also contains theobromine, caffeine and other substances which are stimulants.

But remember all these benefits have been found with dark chocolate. White and milk chocolates will not display these benefits. Chocolates made in Europe are generally richer in cocoa phenols than those made in the U.S. Therefore, when you eat chocolate for health benefits, take dark chocolate and replace other foods that have similar amount of calories with it.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)