I’m sure the headline of this article has attracted a lot of attention due to the fact that the notion about chocolate (many people’s most loved dessert) being healthy is a compelling option. However, as you can think, the low cocoa content and the high fat and sugar amount of milk and white chocolate make it a bad choice for who are health conscious.
This piece is all about benefits to health that come from chocolate that is dark chocolate, and specifically chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa solids. As we’ll soon discover there are some scientific research on dark chocolate is quite intriguing and sometimes surprising because of its robust nutritional characteristics.
So, without further delay we will look at the numerous advantages that dark chocolate could provide to our health and talk about how significant these results are.
Table of Contents
Benefits of Dark Chocolate?
Rich in Essential Nutrients
Dark chocolate is a fantastic source of several minerals that are crucial for our wellbeing and health. In 100g of dark cocoa there are:
- 89% NRV for Copper. Copper is involved in skin pigmentation and hair as well as connective tissue health and the functioning in the function of our immune system.
- 98 98% NRV of manganese, an essential nutrient that keeps connective tissue and bones functioning well.
- 67 percent NRV of iron, an essential mineral in the brain’s circulation, cognitive function and the diminution of fatigue and tiredness.
- 58 percent NRV for magnesium. Magnesium can play a huge amount of benefits to healthy living, with energy levels, mental wellbeing, muscle and bone all influenced positively by the proper amount of this mineral.
- 33 percent NRV of phosphorous, an essential nutrient that helps strengthen teeth and bones.
- 22 percent NRV for potassium. an essential electrolyte which helps us maintain a healthy blood pressure.
- 22% NRV for zinc. As with magnesium, zinc plays numerous important functions within the body, however immunity, reproductive function metabolism, and healthy hair, nails, and skin are just the benefits of zinc.
- 11% NRV for selenium. an essential component of producing glutathione which is the body’s “master antioxidant”.
While 100g isn’t a huge quantity of chocolate, which will provide approximately 600kcal, it’s clear to realize that even a small amount can make a significant contribution to the majority of the vital minerals.
Incredibly, the most recent national diet studies conducted from the British Nutrition Foundation has highlighted that a lot people are eating less than the vital minerals. Therefore, consuming regularly dark chocolate might play contributed to reversing this.
Like many of the important minerals, fibre is a nutrient that we do not get enough of. Often referred to as “roughage” as it is vital to a healthy digestive system, regulating cholesterol levels, and assisting us to feel more full for longer.
According to the current Department of Health recommendation is 30g of sugar per day. But, the latest data show that on average, we are only consuming 50% of this. Dark chocolate contains 11g of fibre for every 100g, this suggests that even a tiny amount can be a significant amount of fibre to meet our daily requirements.
It might surprise many that cocoa is stuffed with flavonoids, polyphenols and catechins, which are powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants are the compounds that are able to give electrons to free radicals that then stabilized these molecules, making them inert. Importantly that this action doesn’t cause the destabilisation of antioxidants by themselves.
Scientists have developed methods to assess the antioxidant properties of specific food items. It is referred to as the Oxygen Radial Absorption Capacity also known as ORAC. This test requires scientists to determine how well a food denatures the free radicals. It is interesting to note that a research study published in the journal found that cocoa has an even higher ORAC than other fruits or berry, including blueberries and fruit!
This antioxidant power should to protect the cells of your body from the destruction that is caused from free radicals. Particularly, numerous studies have proven that consumption of dark chocolate is able to shield cholesterol from deterioration and form the term ‘oxidised cholesterol”.
This kind of cholesterol is unstable and is more likely to adhere on the wall of blood vessels, leading to an increase in hardness and narrowing of the blood vessels – the hallmark of coronary artery diseases. In addition, the substances found in dark chocolate aid in this way, the study also found the reduction of LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol as well as an increase of HDL (‘good’) cholesterol. The theory is that this will lower the chance to develop heart diseases, the leading cause of deaths across the UK.
An artery that’s healthy composed of flexible blood vessels that permit easy circulation of blood under normal pressure. This happens in the event that the endothelium (the part of the artery’s lining) is able to easily produce the molecule nitric oxide. The molecule signals the vessels to relax, which reduces blood flow resistance which in turn reduces blood pressure.
There is a plethora of clinical studies published in the literature which have demonstrated that dark chocolate has the ability to slightly reduce blood pressure. Although the effects are minimal, they can certainly add to the effects of other food items and positive lifestyle changes.
It’s not obvious that dark chocolate can help improve insulin resistance, the main factor in the development of type 2 diabetes. There is however good research evidence to suggest that eating a little bit of dark chocolate a day is enough to lower insulin resistance, boost the functioning of beta cells of the pancreas (which produce insulin) and reduce CRP, the primary indicator of inflammation within the body.
Since many people suffering from Type 2 and insulin-resistant diabetes seeking to limit their intake of carbohydrates and increase their intake of fat Dark chocolate can be an excellent snack. However, now that there’s evidence that it may help those suffering from the disease, it’s like a better option.
Heart Disease Risk
While we’ve already discussed dark chocolate’s capacity to lower blood pressure and insulin resistance, as well as positively alter blood cholesterol levels, it isn’t a significant benefit in the absence of a reduction in risk of heart attacks.
Incredibly, there are studies that have actually looked into this. One study tracked 470 older males over the span of 15 years. Following this period, the researchers determined how many participants were dying from heart disease. The most interesting thing is the fact that those who had the highest intake of dark chocolate were 53 percent less likely to suffer heart problems than those who had those who had a lower amount of chocolate.
The study also considered other factors like alcohol consumption, smoking as well as families with a history of heart problems, as well as degree of education. This implies that we are more certain that the benefits reported were due to a diet. While this kind of research may help identify the connection between chocolate consumption and heart health however, it is not able to be conclusive that the consumption of dark chocolate reduces the risk of dying from heart diseases. However, conducting an uncontrolled, randomised study regarding this subject would nearly be impossible, therefore this type of study will probably be as reliable as it can get.
To confirm these findings A larger study was conducted in the year 2011. In a study that enrolled just shy of 5000 people, it was discovered that the consumption of dark chocolate 5 times per week cut down the likelihood of suffering from coronary heart disease 57% as compared to people who did not consume it in any way.
This research study was created to account for variables that could cause confusion, and diet alone could affect the final outcome. As with the previous study, this research can only establish the existence of a causal link, not necessarily prove it.
Apart from heart health Dark chocolate has also demonstrated the ability of dark chocolate to positively affect the brain’s other organ.
One study revealed that the benefits of vascularization from dark chocolate affect the brain in particular. A single portion of chocolate was found to boost the flow of blood to the brain and the researchers reported that this resulted in an significant increase.
The study discovered they “flavanol-rich cocoa can increase the cerebral blood flow to grey matter, suggesting the potential of cocoa flavanols for treatment of vascular impairment, including dementia and strokes, and thus for maintaining cardiovascular health”.
The theory derived from the above statement was testified in the year 2012. This study included 90 people suffering from mild cognitive impairments were randomized one of two drinks: a flavanol-rich chocolate drink or placebo for eight weeks.
After 8 weeks, it was observed that the people taking the drink of cocoa reduced their blood pressure, insulin resistance and levels of oxidised cholesterol present in the blood as compared to placebo group. The same group showed significant improvement in a variety of tests of cognitive abilities in comparison to placebo.
The researchers conducting the research believe that the cognitive advantage resulted from improved brain blood flow as well as the increase in insulin sensitivity, which increased how much glucose that was delivered to the brain.
In addition, cocoa naturally contains stimulants like caffeine as well as theobromine, which may have contributed to improve brain functioning.
Protection Against Sun Burn
Have you ever thought that food we consume actually offer some protection from sunburn? Foods like tomatoes, orange and green fruit and veggies, along with green tea, dark chocolate and more are supported by research suggesting they protect the skin.
They all have powerful antioxidants which provide what researchers call ‘endogenous protection from photo rays’.
Numerous studies have proven that consuming dark chocolate may enhance the skin’s resistance to sunburn by as much as 50 percent. In addition the study also revealed that 6 months of daily consumption of cocoa increases the elasticity of skin and reduces wrinkles.
If you’re looking to boost your sun protection or improve the health of your skin, chocolate might definitely have a part to play.
How Much Dark Chocolate Should I Have?
In the previous article, we talked about the fact that 100g of chocolate is extremely nutritious, but also high in calories. This is why most experts suggest an ounce (28g) in dark chocolate per serving since this will still provide an enormous contribution to the mineral, fibre and antioxidant requirements without being excessively calorific. Most of the time this amounts to two large squares. It is a nutritious and tasty snack that can be quite filling.
Many people don’t like dark chocolate because of its “acquired flavor,” we hope that this article has inspired consumers to swap milk chocolate in at least once in a while. Because the advantages of chocolate stem from the cocoa content, it is suggested to select the chocolate that has at least 70 percent cocoa.
Based on the evidence we’ve reviewed during this report, it appears that only just a few squares couple of times per week to make an impact positive on many vital factors of good health.