Chocolate is highly nutritious and seems to be important for health.
It's produced from the cacao tree's bean and is one of the finest antioxidant sources on the market. In research, dark chocolate and its compound has been demonstrated to improve health and lower the risk of heart disease.
Here are a few medical benefits of dark chocolate or cocoa that have been scientifically verified.
Benefits of dark chocolate
- It's a good source of nutrition
If you get nice dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, it's quite healthy. It is nutrient-dense and includes a lot of dietary fibre.
The following are the ingredients in a 100-gram bar of 70%–85% cocoa dark chocolate:
- 11 g dietary fibre
- 67 % of the daily recommended iron allowance (RDA)
- Magnesium is responsible for 58 percent of the daily value.
- The DV of copper is 89 percent.
- The DV of manganese is 98 percent.
- Potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium are all present in large levels.
Of course, 100 g (3.5 oz) is a large quantity that should not be ingested on a daily basis. These nutrients also contain 600 calories and a small amount of sugar. Dark chocolate, as a result, should be eaten in moderation.
The fatty acid composition of cocoa and dark chocolate is favourable. The most common fats are oleic acid, stearic acid, and palmitic acid (a heart-healthy fat also present in olive oil).
Stearic acid appears to have no impact on cholesterol levels in the blood. Despite the fact that palmitic acid can raise cholesterol levels, it only makes up one-third of total fat calories. Caffeine and theobromine are stimulants found in dark chocolate, but the amount of caffeine in dark chocolate is low compared to coffee, so it's unlikely to keep you up at night.
- An excellent source of antioxidants
The ability to absorb oxygen free radicals is referred to as ORAC. It's a metric for determining the antioxidant activity of a food. Basically, present study tested a sample of food against a bunch of free radicals (which are bad) to see how well the antioxidants in the food can neutralise them.
Because ORAC values are tested in a vial and may not have the same effect in the body, they are questioned in terms of biological significance.
Raw, unprocessed cocoa beans, on the other hand, are one of the top-scoring meals in the study. Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants and physiologically active chemical substances. Among these are polyphenols, flavanols, and catechins, to name a few.
Cocoa and dark chocolate, according to one study, had more antioxidant activity, polyphenols, and flavonols than any of the other fruits tested, including blueberries and acai berries.
- It has the ability to improve blood flow while lowering blood pressure
The flavanols in dark chocolate can help the endothelium, the lining of arteries, produce more nitric oxide.
One of NO's functions is to send messages to the arteries, causing them to relax, lowering blood flow resistance and, as a result, lowering blood pressure. Numerous controlled investigations have indicated that cocoa and dark chocolate improve blood flow and lower blood pressure, albeit the advantages are usually small.
Take this with a grain of salt, as one study revealed no effect in patients with high blood pressure.
Given the vast range of findings among studies on this subject, it's clear that more research is needed.
- Protects LDL from oxidation while increasing HDL levels
Consumption of dark chocolate can help with a number of heart disease risk factors. In a randomised controlled experiment, cocoa powder was found to significantly lower oxidised LDL (bad) cholesterol in men. It also increased HDL and decreased total LDL in people with high cholesterol.
LDL cholesterol that has been oxidised by free - radical is referred to as "oxidised LDL."
This makes the LDL particle reactive, allowing it to damage other tissues like the lining of your heart's arteries.
It should come as no surprise that chocolate lowers oxidised LDL. It contains a high concentration of powerful antioxidants that enter the bloodstream and shield lipoproteins from oxidative damage.
The flavanols in dark chocolate can also aid with insulin resistance, which is a risk factor for diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
Dark chocolate, on the other extreme, is high in sugar, which might be harmful to your health.
- It may help to reduce the risk of heart disease
The components of dark chocolate appear to be extremely protective against LDL oxidation. This should lead to significantly less cholesterol accumulating in the arteries in the long run, minimising the risk of heart disease.
A significant improvement has been shown in several long-term observational investigations.
In a 15-year study of 470 older men, cocoa was found to reduce the chance of mortality from heart disease by 50%. Another study found that eating chocolate twice or more per week lowered the risk of calcified plaque in the arteries by 32%. If you ate chocolate less frequently, it had no effect.
According to another study, eating dark chocolate five or more times per week reduced the risk of heart disease by 57%.
Participants who ate almonds with or without dark chocolate had decreased LDL cholesterol readings, according to a 2017 clinical study.
Of course, because these are observational studies, it's impossible to establish whether the chocolate was the component that reduced the risk.
Nevertheless, because the metabolic pathway (lower blood pressure and oxidised LDL) is well recognised, regular consumption of dark chocolate may reduce the risk of heart disease.
There is a lot of evidence that cocoa provides a lot of health benefits, particularly in terms of preventing heart disease. Of course, this does not indicate that you should consume large quantities of chocolate on a daily basis. It still contains a lot of calories and is easy to overeat.
Have a square or two after dinner and try to savour them. If you want the benefits of cocoa without the calories of chocolate, make a hot cocoa without the cream or sugar. Also, a lot of chocolate on the market isn't nutritious.
Select a high-quality dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% or higher. This guide on discovering the best dark chocolate might be of interest to you. Dark chocolates frequently include sugar, but only in trace amounts, and the darker the chocolate, the less sugar it contains.
Chocolate is one of the few foods that tastes excellent while also providing numerous health benefits.