Do you consider yourself a chocoholic? Then good news for you as you are indulging in one of the most nutrient-rich foods available in the market. BUT… note that here we are talking about dark chocolates and not the ‘normal chocolates’. Normal chocolates contain added milk solids. They contain less cocoa which is on the other hand abundantly found in ‘dark chocolates’. Dark chocolates due to the high amount of cocoa in them taste bitter and less sweet. The more is the amount of cocoa, the more bitter will be the taste. So yes, they won’t be as tastier as your regular milk chocolate or regular white chocolate. But if we talk healthwise, dark chocolates have enough nutrients to feed you. Want to know about the excellent benefits of dark chocolate? Scroll down below and explore all the promising benefits of it that it has to offer to your health.
What Is Dark Chocolate?
Before we delve into the amazing benefits of dark chocolate, let us first know what it actually is. Dark chocolates are made from the tropical Theobroma cacao tree seeds. It contains real cocoa beans, cocoa butter, and sugar. Some dark chocolates also have a little bit of vanilla flavoring. Contrary to that, milk chocolates contain added milk powder. And when we talk about white chocolates, they sometimes are not even considered true chocolates as there is no trace of cocoa mass in them.
Which Dark Chocolate to Choose:
So to reap the maximum benefits of dark chocolate, always buy dark chocolate bars that have cocoa content over 70% or even higher than that. The more the better and hallo, the bitter too. High cocoa concentration dark chocolates have a higher amount of antioxidants ‘flavonoid’ and all the other nutrients.
Daily Recommended Dose:
Dark chocolate is good for your health does not mean that you can eat it as much as you want. Remember that, anything that is higher than the recommended dose would do harm to your health and nothing more than that.
Dark chocolates are rich in calories and they also contain some amount of saturated fat and sugar. So high indulgence may lead to obesity and other problems like indigestion, headache, and heartburn too. So what is the daily dose of having dark chocolate so that you may realize all the health benefits of dark chocolate? Stick to 1 to 2 ounces per day that means 30-60 grams of dark chocolate per day. Start with 30g and see how your health is responding. You can increase the quantity slowly but more than 60g per day is not recommended.
So you see, dark chocolates are one of the most loved snack choices among healthy eaters. And they are there for over 3,000 years now. It was discovered in central and South America in the form of a drink. Later on, honey and cane sugar were added to it by the Spaniards to make it taste sweeter. It only got its solid form in the late 19th century and started being commercially produced in the 20th century. Now dark chocolates are worldwide famous and are also gaining popularity for its surprising health benefits.
Nutritional Profile According To USDA:
The United States Department of Agriculture has put forward the nutritional value of dark chocolate that contains 70% – 85% cacao solids. A 100 g or 3.5oz of the dark chocolate bar gives you almost 650 kcal energy. It has 46% carbohydrates, almost 43% fat, and 8% protein. Talking about the micronutrients, it includes vitamin B6 at 29% of its Daily Value. You also get Vitamin B1, B2, B3, Vitamin E, K at a moderate quantity. 100 g of dark chocolate provides you 92% of DV when it comes to iron. It gives you 64% magnesium, 44% phosphorus, and 35% DV of zinc. Lastly, dark chocolate also includes a small amount of calcium, sodium, caffeine, cholesterol, and water. So now probably you can understand why there are so many health benefits of dark chocolate.
More Proof Why Dark Chocolate Is Excellent For You:
Other than being this super healthy, there are a few more things that you need to consider. Firstly, dark chocolates come with no added flavor and preservatives. It contains a very less amount of sugar. Its high cacao content makes it an excellent source of antioxidants. Normal dark chocolates are never ‘dutched’. Dutching is a process that uses an alkalizing agent and treats the dark chocolate to give it a milder taste and color so that it tastes less bitter compared to natural dark chocolate. Always read the label and look out if it is ‘processed with alkali’/’dutched’ or not. A dutched dark chocoklate contains less antioxidants than that of the untreated one. So dutched chocolate has less health benefits.
Now let us concentrate on the excellent health benefits of dark chocolate.
Excellent Benefits Of Dark Chocolate You Would Like To Know:
It Kills The Hunger Pang:
Being high in calorie count, dark chocolate keeps you full for a long amount of time. That is why snacking on dark chocolate is a healthy choice. It tastes good and it is indulgent. Several studies have shown that one tends to consume less junk food when they eat dark chocolate. Dark chocolate curbs down your food craving to a great extent which other milk-based chocolates do not.
A High Source Of Antioxidants:
Antioxidants protect your cells against damage from free radicals. Do you know what free radicals are? In simple words, when you eat food and your body breaks it down to absorb nutrients from it, unstable molecules are created in your body. In the process of metabolism, oxygen molecule breaks down and splits into single atoms with unpaired electrons, these are called free radicals. Now what these lonely electrons do is that they keep on looking for other single electrons so that they can make pairs. And this whole process damages your cell, creates oxidative stress, and may even play a major role in the development of cancer.
Now dark chocolates are high sources of antioxidant-possessing compounds – flavonols, catechins, and polyphenols. So when you eat it, the antioxidants reduce the effects of free radicals and prevent oxidative stress. This way it helps in keeping your heart healthy and slows down the body’s aging process by preventing cell damage. Several studies have also confirmed that dark chocolates have more antioxidants properties than many other antioxidant-rich fruits like berries.
It May Lower Blood Pressure Level:
One of the most important health benefits of dark chocolate includes its ability to lower down high blood pressure levels.
Hypertension and high blood pressure are common risk factors for any kind of cardiovascular disease. Flavonols present in cocoa products increase the formation of endothelial nitric oxide which makes your arteries relaxed and makes the blood flow mobile which may consequently lead to lowered blood pressure level. Further studies are going on to know more about dark chocolate’s blood pressure-lowering capabilities. Dark chocolate also reduces hypertension and that also benefits your health.
May Reduce The Risk Of Heart Attack:
Many researchers have stated that people who had indulged in dark chocolate on a regular basis, experienced reduced risk of heart disease. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that people who had serving of dark chocolate more than five times a week decreased their risk of getting cardiovascular diseases by 57%.
Boosts Your Mood:
Dark chocolate due to its higher concentration of cacao imparts positive impacts on your stress level and boosts your mood. When you eat dark chocolate, it stimulates endorphins which is the feel-good chemical of your body. This chemical helps you to cope with pain or any kind of stress. So the next time, you feel a bit low, snack on some dark chocolate to instantly boost your mood.
Chocolate Is A Very Good Cough Suppressant:
Several studies have found that theobromine, a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant which is found in dark chocolate has a very good cough suppressing ability than many codeine syrups.
When you have dark chocolate, it forms a sticky and thick kind of coating on the nerve endings in the throat which triggers the cough. So when you are experiencing itchy throat, have a small bite of dark chocolate and you’ll feel better.
Improves Short-term Alertness:
Dark chocolate improves your attention level and makes you more alert. Dark chocolate boosts blood flow to your brain for 2 to 3 hours when you have it. It also boosts concentration and makes you more attentive to your works. The benefits of dark chocolate include many neurological benefits. It improves blood and oxygen flow to your brain and its caffeine and theobromine content improves brain function on a short-term basis.
Protects Your Skin From Sun Damage:
Dark chocolates are one of the best foods that you can take for your skin. The antioxidants present in them fight against free radicals thus gifting you ageless glowing skin. And eating dark chocolate also protects you from the sun’s damaging UV rays. Its flavonoid content helps filter UV rays and its vitamin B and E content make your skin radiant, nourished, and glowing.
You can DIY a chocolate mask and can apply that onto your skin to replenish your skin, decrease the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark patches too. If you were searching for a face mask idea that will rejuvenate your skin and will detoxify your skin, a dark chocolate face mask is the thing you should go for.
So now you have pretty enough excuses to eat more chocolates, right? But remember, you should only choose dark chocolate and not milk chocolate and normal chocolate. Yes, if you just want to have them for their taste profile, then it’s okay. But this truckload of health benefits of dark chocolate is we guess, enough to convince you why dark chocolates are way better than the normal milk chocolates. Buy chocolate bars that are high in cocoa content and just indulge in to give your body a healthy boost. Bitter is the new better, what’s say?