Chocolate has been a popular delicacy since the Mayans used it in 2000 BC. We still value chocolate nowadays, and now we have even more reason to want it in all its many forms, from chocolate flavors to chocolate drinks and hard chocolate bonbons. Not only is it a popular treatment, but it also has many health advantages. To be examined “dark chocolate,” chocolate must contain 50% cocoa mass, cocoa butter, and sugar but does not contain milk like milk chocolate, except in fragments that may result from cross-contamination during processing.
Manufacturing. The darker the chocolate, h the more cocoa solids you get and the greater health benefits.
Dark chocolate is prepared with nutrients that can have positive impacts on your health. Made from the seeds of the cacao tree. It is one of the most essential sources of antioxidants one can find. Studies show that dark chocolate can enhance your health and lessen your risk of heart disease.
Health Benefits Cocoa is rich in flavonoids, which are plant chemicals that are good for your health. The unique flavonoids in cocoa beans give pure cocoa a bitter taste. Since cocoa flavonoids have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and free radical scavenging properties, and dark chocolate has high levels of cocoa. It can serve several benefits:
Guard Your Heart
Few studies have revealed that dark chocolate may offer a number of benefits that, when combined, may protect against cardiovascular disease. Dark chocolate offers anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic effects that can help prevent blood clots and antihypertensive properties that can lower blood pressure. Further studies are needed to approve that these effects could all work together in this way.
May improve circulation and lower blood pressure The flavanols in dark chocolate can excite, the lining of the arteries, the endothelium, to provide nitric oxide. One of the functions of NO is to send messages to the arteries to relax, which reduces resistance to blood pressure and therefore blood flow. Many studies show that cocoa and dark chocolate can increase blood flow and lower blood pressure, although the effects are usually mild. However, a study in people with high blood pressure showed no effect, so take it with caution. Given the wide variation between studies on this topic, it is clear that more research is needed.
Studies suggest that dark chocolate has a beneficial effect in lowering blood pressure. Endothelial cells, which form a thin membrane in the heart and blood vessels, help control the vasculature and maintain blood flow in your body. In a study, people who ate dark chocolate for a week saw an increase in endothelial function and a decrease in blood pressure.
A Great Source of Antioxidants
ORAC represents the ability to absorb oxygen radicals. It is a type of antioxidant activity in foods. Researchers put a series of (bad) free radicals in a sample of a food and see how well antioxidants in food can deactivate free radicals. It is worth noting, however, that raw and unprocessed cocoa beans are among the highest-rated foods ever tested. Dark chocolate is stored with organic compounds that are biologically active and act as antioxidants. These combine polyphenols, flavonoids, and catechins.
A study showed that dark chocolate and cocoa had a better amount of antioxidant, polyphenol, and flavonoid activity than any other fruit tested, including blueberries and acai berries. Cocoa and dark chocolate have a variety of powerful antioxidants. They have much more than most other foods.
If you buy genuine quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, it is quite nutritious. It contains a good amount of soluble fiber and is rich in minerals.
A 100-gm bar of dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa contains
- 11 gm fiber
- 67% of iron
- 58% of magnesium
- 89% copper
- 98% Manganese
In addition, it contains a lot of potassium, zinc, phosphorus, and selenium.
The fatty acid profile of cocoa is also good. Fats consist of oleic acid (a heart-healthy fat that is also found in olive oil), and palmitic acid, and stearic acid. Stearic acid has a dual effect on cholesterol in the body. Palmitic acid can raise cholesterol, but it only makes up a third of total calories from fat. Dark chocolate contains stimulants like theobromine and caffeine, but you are unlikely to stay awake at night because the amount of caffeine is small compared to coffee.
High-quality dark chocolate is rich in fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, and some other minerals.
Increases HDL and protects LDL from oxidation
Eating dark chocolates can improve several risk factors for heart disease. In a study, cocoa powder was found to significantly reduce oxidized (bad) LDL cholesterol in men. It also increased HDL and decreased total LDL in those with high cholesterol (Reliable source). Oxidized LDL means that LDL cholesterol has reacted with free radicals, which makes the LDL particle itself reactive and can damage other tissues, such as the lining of the heart arteries. It makes perfect sense for cocoa to reduce oxidized LDL. It contains a large number of powerful antioxidants that reach the bloodstream and protect lipoproteins from oxidative damage.
The flavonoids in dark chocolate can also reduce insulin resistance, which is another common risk factor for conditions like heart disease and diabetes. However, dark chocolate also contains sugar, which can have the opposite effect.
Dark chocolate improves several risk factors for disease. It reduces the susceptibility of LDL to oxidative damage while increasing HDL and improving insulin sensitivity.
Vision improvement Early tests showed that people who ate dark chocolate had improved eyesight within two hours after consuming the chocolate, compared to people who ate milk chocolate instead. While dark chocolate may provide better temporal vision, more evidence is needed to determine how long this increase will last or how useful it could be in the real world.
It can defend your skin from the sun
The bioactive compounds in dark chocolate can also be good for the skin. Flavonoids can protect against sun damage; improve blood circulation in the skin, and increase skin density and moisture. Minimum Erythemal Dose (MED) is the minimum amount of UVB rays required to cause redness of the skin 24 hours after exposure. In a study of 30 people, the MED more than doubled after consuming dark chocolate high in flavanols for 12 weeks (about 3 months). If you are planning a beach vacation, the last weeks and months should be the last weeks and months to enjoy some extra dark chocolate. But ask your doctor or dermatologist before giving up your normal skincare routine in favor of more dark chocolate.
May improve brain function
The good news does not stop there. Dark chocolate can also improve the way your brain works. A study of healthy volunteers showed that consuming cocoa high in flavanol for five days improved blood flow to the brain. Cocoa can also significantly improve cognitive function in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. It can also improve speech fluency and various disease risk factors. In addition, cocoa contains stimulant substances such as caffeine and theobromine, which could be one of the main reasons why it can improve brain function in the short term.
Cocoa or dark chocolate can enhance brain capacity by improving blood flow.
Things to Consider
Interpreting the nutritional value of dark chocolate bars can be tricky because most contain a mixture of cocoa solids and cocoa butter. Read the label to make sure that one gets the most of its potential benefits without consuming more sugar or fat than you would like. And the darker the chocolate, the higher caffeine it contains. Two ounces of 70% chocolate can contain around 50 to 60 milligrams (about twice the weight of a grain of rice) of caffeine, which is about half of what is in an 8-ounce cup of coffee. So, if you are watching your caffeine intake, keep an eye on your dark chocolate snacks too.
Using Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate of 70% or more contains the most useful flavonoids, but the darker it becomes, the more bitter it tastes. Dark chocolate is widely used in baking and can often be found in candy recipes such as Chocolate bars, Cake Hot drinks such as hot chocolate or chocolate coffee Pudding Cookies.
Here are some other ideas for adding small servings of dark chocolate: Serve small squares of dark chocolate with fresh fruit for a simple dessert.
Stir a few melted dark chocolates into a mild bowl of oatmeal.
Add a spoon or two of dark chocolate to frozen banana and toss with a delicious dairy-free chocolate ice cream substitute.
There is ample evidence that cocoa may offer powerful health benefits, particularly against heart disease. Of course, that does not mean you should be consuming a lot of chocolate every day. It is still full of calories and easy to overeat. After dinner, eat a square or two and try to enjoy it. If you want to have the benefits of cocoa without the calories of chocolate, consider making hot chocolate without cream or sugar. Also, note that much of the chocolate available on the market is not nutritious.
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