Knowing the health benefits of dark chocolate is important for us all. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants which can help reduce cell damage and lower risk of disease. It has also been found to contain plant compounds that may improve heart health and help with weight loss. Additionally, dark chocolate contains minerals such as iron, magnesium, and zinc which help the body function properly. Knowing the potential health benefits of dark chocolate can help people make better informed decisions about what they eat.
Theobroma Cacao, also known as by the ancient Mayans, Aztecs, and Incas as “The Food of the Gods”, is one of the best medicinal superfoods to consume for optimal health. Theobroma Cacao is the scientific name for the cocoa bean which is what creates the flavorful chocolate that we love. The history chocolate dates back to Mesoamerica. The Aztecs called chocolate “xocoatl”, which referenced the bitter drink brewed from the cacao bean.
For roughly 90% of chocolate’s history, it was mainly consumed as a beverage. The sweet pulp that surrounds the encapsulated bean was fermented into a beverage during that time period. According to ancient Aztec history, it was even considered a valuable form of currency. Today, we use the term “cacao” while referring to the plant before processing it, while the term “chocolate” refers to anything created from the cacao bean.
Is Dark Chocolate Good for You?
The countless health benefits dark chocolate provides are phenomenal. From antioxidants, to minerals, to fighting free radicals and phytochemicals, the nutritional perks are astonishing. Rich in flavonoids (a large amount of plant pigments), the dark chocolate benefits even play a role in cancer prevention. The remarkable health benefits of dark chocolate also makes your blood thinner, which deters strokes and blood clots. Lowering your cholesterol and blood pressure also adds to the growing list of benefits this delightful food provides.
What’s the best dark chocolate for you?
When processing the cacao bean, the methods used can affect the flavanols content within the product. It has less flavanols when it’s labeled with “processed with alkali”. This particular process is called “dutching”. This process reduces the antioxidants within the chocolate. In my opinion, the best dark chocolate to choose is the ones that have the least ingredients as possible.
Usually the best dark chocolate to consume are the ones that have a 70% or higher total cocoa content. The higher the percentage, the higher concentration of nutrients. If the ingredients initially states the content as having cocoa, cocoa powder, cocoa nibs and cocoa butter, then that should be your determining factor. My advice is to avoin brands that contain large amounts of sugar or trans fat. There really should only be a few ingredients on the label packaging.
How much dark chocolate should you eat a day?
The health benefits of dark chocolate are staggering enough to indulge, but not without being responsible. Dark chocolate is still loaded with fat and calories within its contents. It’s advised to consume roughly one to two ounces a day (30 grams to 60 grams).
What Are The Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate?
We know dark chocolate is good for us, so now it’s time to get into specifics. Here is a list that highlights some of the best health benefits dark chocolate has to offer.
Rich In Antioxidants
Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, which help to reduce cell damage and lower the risk of diseases like cancer. It has also been linked with improved heart health, thanks to its plant compounds that can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. While dark chocolate may be high in calories, it also contains minerals like iron, magnesium, and zinc that are essential for proper body functions. When eaten in moderation, dark chocolate can offer a number of health benefits that make it worth including as part of a balanced diet.
High In Fiber
Dark chocolate is not only rich in antioxidants and minerals, but it is also a good source of dietary fiber. Fiber helps to keep digestion regular and can aid in weight loss by helping us feel fuller for longer. Additionally, high-fiber diets have been linked with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke. Eating dark chocolate as part of a healthy diet can help us get the necessary amount of dietary fiber our bodies need.
Lowers Potential Cardiovascular Risks
Dark chocolate has been linked to a decrease in potential cardiovascular risks due to its plant compounds. These compounds work to reduce inflammation, which lowers the risk of stroke and heart disease. Additionally, dark chocolate also contains flavonoids that can improve flexibility in the arteries and veins, helping to prevent clots and high blood pressure. Eating dark chocolate in moderation can be beneficial for those looking to reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. It also helps regulates your heart rate and keeps the blood vessels open.
Balances Sugar Levels
Dark chocolate is beneficial for those looking to regulate their blood sugar levels. It contains a compound called theobromine, which helps to slow down the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream. Additionally, dark chocolate can help stimulate insulin production in the body, aiding in the balance of sugar levels. Eating small amounts of dark chocolate regularly can help to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Dark chocolate can be beneficial for those suffering from hypertension, or high blood pressure. It contains natural compounds that relax the walls of your blood vessels, helping to reduce your blood pressure. Additionally, dark chocolate’s antioxidants help to reduce oxidative stress in the body, which can further lower blood pressure levels. Eating small amounts of dark chocolate regularly can be helpful for those looking to naturally manage their high blood pressure levels.
Improves Brain Function
Dark chocolate can be beneficial for improving brain function. Its polyphenols can help to improve memory, alertness and concentration. Additionally, dark chocolate helps to boost the production of serotonin and endorphins, helping to reduce stress levels, increase feelings of well-being, and improve cognitive performance. Eating small amounts of dark chocolate regularly can help to enhance mental focus and overall cognitive abilities.
Improves Skin Health
Dark chocolate can be beneficial for improving skin health. Its antioxidants and flavonoids help to protect the skin from UV radiation, reduce wrinkles and boost collagen production. Additionally, dark chocolate’s anti-inflammatory properties can help to reduce inflammation and redness in the skin. Eating small amounts of dark chocolate regularly can help to promote healthy and glowing skin by moisturizing, nourishing and protecting it from environmental aggressors.
Combats Tooth Decay
Dark chocolate can help fight tooth decay due to its high levels of fluoride, which help strengthen enamel and prevent cavities. Additionally, dark chocolate’s antioxidant properties may help reduce bacterial growth in the mouth, which can contribute to dental plaque and gingivitis. Eating a small amount of dark chocolate regularly can help reduce the risk of tooth decay by preventing bacteria from accumulating on teeth.
Aids in Constipation
Dark chocolate can be beneficial in aiding with constipation. Its high fiber content helps to regulate digestion, while its antioxidants can help reduce inflammation in the gut, which can make it easier for stools to pass through. Additionally, dark chocolate’s magnesium content helps activate nerves and muscles in the digestive tract, which can help speed up the process of digesting food. Eating a small amount of dark chocolate per day can help to relieve constipation symptoms.
The Feel Better Food
Dark chocolate contains high levels of endorphins, which can provide a sense of pleasure and contentment. When consumed, dark chocolate stimulates the production of endorphins in our bodies, leading to increased physical and emotional wellbeing. Dark chocolate’s antioxidant properties further contribute to this effect, as they help reduce inflammation and boost brain function. By eating dark chocolate regularly, you can help increase your endorphin levels and experience greater overall health benefits.
Is dark chocolate bad for you at all?
While dark chocolate may offer some health benefits, it can also be bad for you if consumed in too high a quantity. Dark chocolate is high in sugar, fat, and calories, which can lead to weight gain if consumed in excess. Additionally, it should not be eaten by people with certain food allergies or sensitivities. Therefore, eating dark chocolate should always be done in moderation to ensure its beneficial effects are fully realized without any negative side effects.
Overall, the dark chocolate health benefits are phenomenal to say the least. There aren’t too many treats that have such an array of medicinal compounds. They’re so many plants that aids us humans with well being and vitality. The health benefits of dark chocolate makes the cacao plant and arsenal to our livelihood.