The taste of chocolate is extremely sweet, but there is no reason for you to feel guilty about eating an ounce or more several times per week.
Studies have shown that chocolate has health benefits that put it on the list of superfoods, especially dark chocolate, which is rich in antioxidants.
One of the main reasons chocolate has a lot of health benefits is that it’s rich in flavonoids. Flavonoids can be naturally found in plants and these substances provide a great boost in antioxidant action for you.
According to studies, the darker the chocolate, the better. It is recommended to eat less-processed chocolate which has at least 60% of cacao. Dark chocolate has a much higher concentration of antioxidants compared to milk chocolate, and milk chocolate also has more unhealthy fats and added sugar.
However, the daily dose of antioxidants in dark chocolate shouldn’t be a dessert for everyone, since dark chocolate is after all loaded with calories and fat. It is recommended to eat one or two ounces per day, and if you do so, you will have these health benefits.
1. Dark chocolate helps control your blood sugar
Dark chocolate helps keep your circulation unimpaired and your blood vessels to protect against type 2 diabetes. Also, the flavonoids help reduce insulin resistance which helps your cells to function normally and get back the ability to use insulin in your body more efficiently. Dark chocolate won’t cause huge spikes in blood sugar levels since it has a low glycemic index.
2. Dark chocolate is good for your heart
Many studies have shown that eating a small amount of dark chocolate for several times per week can lower your blood pressure. In addition, dark chocolate may prevent the formation of blood clots, improve blood flow, and prevent arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
3. Dark chocolate is good for your brain
Dark chocolate also improves the functions of your brain. In one study it has been shown that people who consumed high-flavanol cocoa 5 days a week improved blood flow to the brain. Also, cocoa can significantly improve cognitive function in people who are old and have the mental impairment. In addition, it improves several risk factors for disease and verbal fluency. Cocoa can improve the function of the brain in the short term because it contains stimulant substances such as theobromine and caffeine.
4. Dark chocolate is high in minerals and vitamins
Dark chocolate has a number of minerals and vitamins which are good for your health. Dark chocolate contains some minerals and vitamins in high concentrations, such as iron, copper, magnesium, and potassium. The iron in dark chocolate protects your body against iron deficiency anemia, the potassium and copper prevent against cardiovascular ailments and stroke, and the magnesium in dark chocolate prevents high blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
5. Dark chocolate has a lot of antioxidants
Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) is a measure of the antioxidant activity of foods. Researchers put free radicals in a sample of food and they see how well the antioxidants in the food can destroy free radicals. The metric of this biological relevance is questionable since it’s done in a test tube and it doesn’t necessary have the same effect in the body.
However, it is worth mentioning that unprocessed, raw cocoa beans have one of the biggest scores that have been tested. Dark chocolate has organic compounds which are function and biologically active as antioxidants. These include catechins, flavanols, polyphenols, among others. In one study it has been shown that dark chocolate and cocoa contained more flavanols, polyphenols, and antioxidant activity than other fruits they tested, which included Acai berries and blueberries.
6. Dark chocolate has theobromine
Dark chocolate contains theobromine, which can harden tooth enamel. Unlike most other sweets, dark chocolate lowers your risk of getting cavities if you practice dental hygiene properly. Also, theobromine is a mild stimulant, but not as strong as caffeine, and it can help you to suppress a cough.