Iron, magnesium, and zinc are among the minerals that are abundant in dark chocolate. Flavonoids, another type of antioxidant found in cocoa and present in dark chocolate, may have a number of health advantages.
Cacao is a plant with a lot of minerals and antioxidants that is used to make chocolate. Sugar, milk, cocoa butter, and small amounts of cacao are the main ingredients in commercial milk chocolate. Dark chocolate, in contrast, has significantly more cacao and less sugar than milk chocolate.
We look at a few possible health advantages of dark chocolate in this article. We also talk about how much to eat, risks and factors, and nutritional information.
Everyone enjoys chocolates and wants to eat them, making them the most accessible food item. There are very few people who do not enjoy chocolate. Extra dark chocolate has a sweet and bitter flavor, while dark chocolate is semisweet. It is made from ground up cocoa beans. It is also known as black chocolate, and it is made by combining less milk and less milk with roasted and ground cocoa. It contains the highest amount of cocoa, ranging from 70% to 99%. Mexicans invented chocolate. where the cacao tree, which is a native of the tropical rainforest of America, was grown by the Mayans and Aztecs. Drinks made of chocolate were referred to as “the drink of Gods” because of their health benefits. Theobroma cacao is the formal name of the cocoa tree.1–3Let’s talk about the health advantages of dark chocolate, its nutritional content, potential applications, and much more.
One of the most popular indulgences frequently consumed by adults is dark chocolate. For chocolate lovers who prefer less-sweet treats, its rich and intense flavor profile is ideal. There are several advantages of dark chocolate in addition to the fact that it is the ideal treat to enjoy at any time of day and makes a wonderful chocolate gift for loved ones.
Dark chocolate was used as medicine for hundreds of years because of its reputation for being healing. The cacao or cocoa tree’s seed goes through a number of steps before becoming a bar of dark chocolate that we can consume. To make cocoa powder, this seed is dried, roasted, and ground. The three main components of dark chocolate are fats, cocoa liquor, and powdered cocoa. They don’t have any milk solids, so cocoa is the main component. And it is because of this component that dark chocolate is healthy.
Is dark chocolate good for you?
Dark chocolate stands out when compared to other varieties. According to Peart, “Dark chocolate has lower added sugar and fat than milk or white chocolate,” and it also has a ton of flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants.
Cocoa butter, sugar, and cocoa solids are the basic components of both milk chocolate and dark chocolate. However, the percentage of cocoa solids in the two types of chocolate varies.
“Dark chocolate has between 50% and 90% cocoa solids,” claims Peart. Additionally, milk chocolate contains 10% to 50% cacao.Unsurprisingly, the extent of the health benefits of dark chocolate can vary depending on the amount of cocoa solids present. According to Peart, “the more flavonoids and the lower sugar, the higher the percentage of cocoa solids.” “There will be less added sugar if you use 75% or 80% dark chocolate than if you use 50% dark chocolate.”
Being a plant, cacao makes antioxidants to maintain its life. The cacao beans that are used to make chocolate contain a concentrated amount of these antioxidants. The particularly potent antioxidants in cacao called flavanols have been shown to lower inflammation, improve insulin sensitivity, lower blood pressure, and lower the risk of heart disease. The amount of antioxidants in a chocolate product increases with the amount of cacao it contains. Exciting research suggests that cocoa may also lower the risk of cognitive decline in older adults and by as much as 37% lower the risk of heart disease.
Alkalized or “Dutch Processed” cocoa and chocolate have fewer flavanols. Despite being intended to enhance flavor and shelf life, the process unfortunately destroys antioxidants. Dark chocolate that has not been alkalized provides our bodies with the most flavanols.
Benefits of dark chocolate
Cardiovascular Diseases Are Prevented
In the entire world, cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the main killers. High blood pressure and cholesterol levels are the most frequent causes of this disease. Fruits and vegetables are great for preventing CVD because they are high in flavonoids, according to some epidemiological evidence. Similar to this, cacao’s high flavonoid content has been shown to lower the risk of CVD.
The effects of dark chocolate consumption over the long term were investigated by the Stockholm Heart Epidemiology Program. According to the study, those who consume dark chocolate have a lower cardiac mortality rate than those who have never tried it. Thus, it is hypothesized that flavanols act as cardioprotective agents when present in sufficient quantities, reducing the risk of heart disease.
Depression Chocolate Treats
Dark chocolate is connected to a lower risk of depression in addition to the pleasure it brings when consumed. It has been noted that people who consume 24 grams or less of dark chocolate each day may experience antidepressant effects.
With the combination of flavonoids, which are known to elevate mood, theobromine, which provides energy, N-acylethanolamines, a fatty acid with euphoric properties, and phenylethylamine, which releases dopamine, this can alleviate depression.Between 2007-2008 and 2013-2014, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted a thorough survey. This study examined the link between dark chocolate and depression in 13,626 US-based adults.
According to the study’s findings, eating dark chocolate may directly correlate with a lower risk of clinically significant depressive symptoms.
It Improves Circulatory System Function
Consuming dark chocolate helps improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, lower LDL blood cholesterol (bad cholesterol), increase HDL blood cholesterol (good cholesterol), improve vascular function, and lower the risk of stroke, according to studies from the University of Southern California, the Institute of Cardiology in Russia, and the University of Guadalajara, Mexico. A study on obese men at Wageningen University in the Netherlands found that eating dark chocolate every day for four weeks helped restore artery flexibility and prevented white blood cells from adhering to blood vessel walls. This is significant because white blood cell adhesion and arterial rigidity are both contributors to heart disease.
Possible Cancer Prevention
Studies on rats suggest a connection between eating dark chocolate and preventing colon cancer. It has been discovered that eating dark chocolate reduces inflammation and cell growth.
Consuming small amounts of flavanols on a daily basis from dark chocolate and other sources could be a natural way to prevent colon cancer. However, this area requires more study.
The flavanols in cocoa beans (dark chocolate) may lessen cell damage, according to the American Cancer Society. However, according to the report, the findings do not specify whether the anticancer effects could be attributed to dark chocolate or to flavanols alone, which may also be present in other foods.
High levels of catechins and procyanidins in dark chocolate cocoa may be protective against chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which are risk factors for cancer.
Including fiber and nutrients
There are many important nutrients in dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa. Iron, magnesium, copper, and manganese are all abundant in it. It also includes trace amounts of the vitamins A, B, E, and K, as well as calcium, potassium, and zinc.
The 10 grams (or 3.5 ounces) of fiber in a typical 100-gram bar of dark chocolate are good for your digestive system.
The majority of dark chocolate also includes a small amount of cocoa butter, which is a source of the heart-healthy fat oleic acid.
However, it’s important to remember that chocolate also includes sugars and saturated fats.
increases sensitivity to insulin
According to the Cleveland Clinic, the primary type of flavonoid found in cocoa and chocolate, dark chocolate is made of cocoa, which is high in flavanols. According to Guzak, flavanols are plant chemicals with numerous health advantages, such as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. By lowering oxidative stress, flavanols can also enhance how the body processes glucose. According to Guzak, this can improve insulin sensitivity and lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes. In fact, some research indicates that polyphenols may have an impact on Type 2 diabetes and glycemia (blood sugar levels through various mechanisms, including enhancing glucose uptake in tissues and enhancing insulin sensitivity.
Aids in controlling cholesterol levels
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) make up the majority of your cholesterol count. The inner walls of your arteries will accumulate cholesterol if you have too much LDL (bad cholesterol) and not enough HDL (good cholesterol), which raises your risk of developing certain diseases like heart disease.
Observational studies on diabetic patients show that dark chocolate consumption significantly lowers fasting blood sugar and LDL cholesterol. But dark chocolate has advantages beyond LDL. A 2017 review found that flavonoids have the potential to enhance HDL functioning by reducing inflammation and having an antioxidant effect on cells. Another 2017 study discovered that eating dark chocolate and almonds together (in a controlled manner) lowers the level of specific LDL particles in the blood linked to coronary heart disease in obese and overweight individuals.
Level out inflammatory markers and blood sugar
Several anti-inflammatory ingredients found in dark chocolate are also very good for your heart’s overall health. In patients with type 2 diabetes, a 2018 study found that participants who consumed more dark chocolate had lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers. This suggests a link between blood sugar regulation and a heart-healthy lifestyle, which influences blood sugar, muscle activity, and obesity. Overall, it was discovered that adding dark chocolate to the diets of some diabetic patients was advantageous.
Living a long, healthy life requires taking good care of your heart, so make sure to work out and indulge in a little dark chocolate from time to time. Visit the CVG blog to find more advice on creating a healthy diet and way of life, including our top tips for dealing with the pandemic as a heart patient.