Dark chocolate does not contain milk and has a number of health benefits. It is made from the seeds of the cocoa tree, one of the best antioxidants on the planet (we talked about chocolate trees here ☛).
Now there is a huge variety of chocolate on the market, among which there is also fake. But in this article we will not talk about chocolate in general, not about milk chocolate or chocolate bars and sweet bars, but about good quality natural chocolate with a cocoa content of at least 70%, which does not contain milk.
Research shows that the health benefits of dark chocolate are clear. And today we will consider all the useful properties of this product.
Dark chocolate is very high in calories. High-quality dark chocolate is high in fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese and some other macro- and microelements. A 100 gram dark chocolate bar contains:
- 11 grams of fiber
- 67% of the Daily Value for Iron
58% of the total daily value of magnesium
89% of the total daily value of copper
98% of the total daily requirement of manganese
- also rich in potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium
Of course, a 100-gram bar is not the amount that should be consumed daily due to the high calorie content of chocolate and some sugar content. But its moderate use will only bring benefits.
Bitter chocolate has an excellent composition of fatty acids. Fats are mostly saturated and monounsaturated, with a low content of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Chocolate contains small amounts of the stimulants caffeine and theobromine, but they are not as abundant as coffee.
Dark chocolate is a powerful source of a variety of antioxidants. One study found that cocoa and chocolate have more antioxidant activity than other fruits and berries, such as blueberries.
The bioactive compounds in cocoa can improve blood flow in the arteries and cause a small but statistically significant decrease in blood pressure.
Cocoa and chocolate increase high-density lipoproteins (good cholesterol) and protect low-density lipoproteins (bad cholesterol) from oxidation. Therefore, eating dark chocolate may improve several important risk factors for heart disease. Oxidized low-density lipoproteins mean that bad cholesterol reacts with free radicals. This makes low-density lipoproteins capable of damaging other tissues, such as the coronary arteries. The cocoa contained in chocolate reduces the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins. It contains powerful antioxidants that, when released into the bloodstream, protect lipoproteins from oxidation.
Dark chocolate may also reduce insulin resistance, which is another common risk factor for many diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
Thus, the benefit of dark chocolate is observed in that it improves a number of important risk factors. It reduces the susceptibility of low-density lipoproteins to oxidative degradation while increasing HDL and increasing insulin sensitivity.
High-quality chocolate can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. As discussed above, the compounds in dark chocolate have strong protective properties against low-density lipoprotein oxidation. In the long term, this should lead to a reduction in bad cholesterol in the vessels and a decrease in the risk of heart disease.
There are a number of long-term observations that show good results.
- The first study looked at 15 years of statistics on 470 older men who consumed chocolate. A 50% reduction in mortality from cardiovascular diseases was found.
Another study showed that eating chocolate two or more times a week reduced the risk of calcified plaque in the arteries by 32%. For those who rarely ate chocolate, no effect was observed.
Another study showed that eating chocolate five or more times a week reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by 57%.
Of course, it’s impossible to say for sure that it was chocolate that led to the reduction in risk, but the statistics are encouraging! Given that we know the biological mechanism (lower blood pressure and reduction of oxidized low density lipoprotein), it is likely that regular consumption of dark chocolate may actually reduce the risk of heart disease.
Dark chocolate can protect the skin from sun damage. The bioactive compounds in dark chocolate may be beneficial for the skin. Due to the flavonols contained in it, chocolate protects the skin from the sun, improves blood circulation in it, increases skin density and provides it with moisture. If you are planning a beach holiday, start eating chocolate.
The benefit of dark chocolate is also that it improves brain function. One study of healthy volunteers found that 5 days of cocoa consumption improved brain blood flow.
Cocoa can also significantly improve cognitive performance (improved memory, increased performance) in older people with mental disorders. It also improves verbal fluency.
The stimulants caffeine and theobromine are likely to be the key to improved brain function in the short term.
In addition to the above beneficial properties of chocolate, one of its main advantages is its amazing taste! Bitter chocolate goes very well with fragrant strong black coffee, which is also a very healthy product. You can verify this by looking at the article "Coffee will help you live longer!".
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