Don’t say that you haven’t dreamt of eating chocolate every day. Now you have an excuse to have chocolate. Studies have shown that dark chocolates are rich with Antioxidants and packed with nutrients. This does not mean you can have milk and white chocolates as they don’t count. The cocoa in dark chocolate contains many minerals and antioxidants called flavonoids, which is proved to have several health benefits. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and prevent oxidative stress which leads to natural aging process.
Dark chocolate contains a decent amount of soluble fiber and is loaded with minerals like iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.
How much to eat?
In general, 100 grams of dark chocolate with 70-80 % cocoa comes with 600 calories and some sugar. So, you should have it in moderation and in small quantities. You can have around 20-30 grams per day to get maximum benefit from dark chocolates. Be careful that you don’t consume other types of chocolates like milk and white chocolates containing large amounts of sugar.
Improves Blood flow and lowers Blood pressure thus improving heart health
A study has shown that people who ate more dark chocolate per day had a lower risk of both heart disease and stroke. The flavanols in dark chocolate stimulate nitric oxide production in the body. Nitric oxide causes blood vessels to dilate, or widen, which improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure. The beneficial effects of dark chocolate on blood pressure might be more significant in older people and those with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, as opposed to younger, healthy individuals.
Improves Cognition, Prevent Memory Loss, and Boosts Your Mood
Studies show consuming high concentrations of dark chocolate may benefit your brain by stimulating neural activity in areas of the brain associated with pleasure and reward, which in turn decreases stress and improves your mood.
Controls Blood Sugar Levels, and Reduces the Risk of Developing Diabetes
It might not sound the best way to control sugar levels but dark chocolate could actually improve how your body metabolizes glucose. Due to this, glucose levels in your body remains under control. This reduces the risk of developing diabetes.
Chocolate may play a role in controlling appetite which in turn leads to better weight management. Eating a bit of dark chocolate before or after meals triggers hormones that signal to the brain, you’re full. Amount of chocolate has to be moderated as excess eating might produce opposite results.
As mentioned earlier, Antioxidants protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable oxygen molecules thought to be responsible for aging and disease. When you have too many free radicals in your body, they start to attack your cells, and that can lead to low-grade inflammation and eventually to diseases like cancer.
Good for Your Skin
The bioactive compounds in dark chocolate may also be beneficial for your skin. The flavonoids in dark chocolate can protect against sun damage, improve blood flow to the skin and increase skin density and hydration. This will eventually lead to a healthier skin.
Please note that this article should not be treated as medical advice and you should consult your doctor for expert medical opinion.