CONSUMING DARK CHOCOLATE HAS HUGE HEALTH REWARDS
As it turns out, having a sweet tooth for chocolate may reap huge health benefits. Chocolate, derived from the cocoa seed, contains several vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are essential to your daily diet. Research shows that regular consumption of chocolate can improve immune and brain health, and it can greatly reduce your risk of heart disease and even diabetes. Cocoa also contains a unique composition of flavanols, phytonutrients that support overall health. However, not all chocolate comes packed with nutrients that boost your body’s well being. Milk chocolate and other sweetened forms of chocolate have low cocoa content and tend to be extremely high in calories, sugars, and fats and may do more harm to you than good. To obtain all of cocoa’s wonderful benefits, you may eat up to, but no more than, 100 grams of 70-85% dark chocolate with minimal sugar content (100 grams is about one medium sized dark chocolate bar). The amount of chocolate you consume will depend on your individual daily calorie goals. Each 100 gram chocolate bar contains up to 600 calories.
The mineral profile of dark chocolate is…
- 67% Daily Value for Iron.
- 58% Daily Value for Magnesium.
- 89% Daily Value for Copper.
- 98% Daily Value for Manganese.
- Potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium are also part of chocolates rich mineral profile.
Chocolate’s super-active flavanoids act as antioxidants that may help to protect your from the sun’s UV rays that can cause skin damage and cancer. That is not to say that you can substitute using sunscreen with a few bites of chocolate. Choco-flavanoid antioxidants may also protect your eyes and immune system.
Chocolate is Heart Healthy!
Moderate consumption of dark chocolate may have several cardiovascular benefits including reducing blood pressure, LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol), and overall risk of cardiac disease. Several emerging studies show data linking these benefits to cocoa’s anti-inflammatory properties. Cocoa’s flavanols have anticoagulant and blood thinning properties which may reduce the risk of ischemic stroke. In a Swedish experiment, researchers found that women who consumed over 45 grams of chocolate per week showed a lower risk of stroke than those who consumed less than 9 grams per week.
Chocolate’s blood thinning properties improve blood flow and circulation throughout the body. Increased circulation to the brain will improve energy, vitality, and a sense of well-being. It will also improve focus, alertness, cognitive ability and mental sharpness.
Dark Chocolate Creates Strength and Energy
Full of caffeine, theobromine, and sugar, chocolate actually has some stimulant properties. Caffeine and theobromine affect the body in similar ways to stimulate energy metabolism and increase energy. Eating moderate amounts will boost your mood and make you more energetic. You will be able to move about and exercise more easily and will feel mentally empowered. The effects of caffeine and theobromine, coupled with circulation improvement from flavanols, make for the ultimate energy food; perfect for the start of your day and before your workout.
Full of Good Fats
Chocolate contains a decent amount of fat. More importantly, chocolate contains “good” fats which are mostly saturated and monounsaturated. The fats are mostly saturated and monounsaturated, with small amounts of polyunsaturates.
Dark Chocolate Fights Diabetes:
Some studies show that consuming chocolate may increase insulin sensitivity which may reduce the risk of diabetes. Be mindful of chocolates high in sugar; some bittersweet forms have high cocoa content but are also very sweet, so eating too much may actually lead to increased risk of diabetes.