7 Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate

The consumption of nutrient-dense dark chocolate can have a positive influence on your well-being. The cocoa tree’s seed is one of the best sources of antioxidants available.

According to scientific research, the consumption of dark chocolate has the potential to promote better health and minimize the likelihood of heart disease.

Benefits of Dark Chocolate

These are 7 scientifically proven health benefits of dark chocolate, or cocoa.

1. Very nutritious

If you buy good chocolate, dark chocolate with a high cocoa content is pretty healthy.

It has a lot of soluble fiber and is full of minerals. This dark chocolate bar weighs 100 grams and has a cocoa percentage ranging from 70% to 85%.

  • 11 grams of fiber
  • 66% of the DV for iron
  • 57% of the DV for magnesium
  • 196% of the DV for copper
  • 85% of the DV for manganese

It also has a lot of selenium, zinc, phosphorus, and potassium.

As you might expect, 100 grams (3.5 ounces) is a pretty big amount that you shouldn’t eat every day. These nutrients have about 600 calories and a fair amount of sugar.

This means that you should only consume small amounts of dark chocolate.

Cocoa and dark chocolate also have a good mix of fatty acids. Most of the fats are oleic acid, stearic acid, and palmitic acid. Olive oil also contains oleic acid, a heart-healthy fat.

Stearic acid doesn’t change the amount of cholesterol in the body. Even though palmitic acid can raise cholesterol, it only makes up a third of the calories in fat.

There are also stimulants in dark chocolate, such as caffeine and theobromine. However, the caffeine in dark chocolate is not as strong as in coffee, so it probably won’t keep you up at night.

2. Powerful source of antioxidants.

The acronym ORAC stands for oxygen radical absorbance capacity. It’s a way to measure how much antioxidant power foods have.

Scientists test a sample of a food against a group of free radicals (which are bad) to see how well the antioxidants in the food can fight off the free radicals.

These tests show that chocolate has a lot of antioxidants. We test ORAC values in a test tube, which may not be biologically relevant. This is because they may not have the same effect on the body.

Studies on people don’t always show that chocolate has the same range of antioxidant benefits. But experts say we don’t have enough proof yet to say for sure.

There are a lot of biologically active organic substances in dark chocolate that work as antioxidants. Some of these are flavonols, catechins, polyphenols, and others. Researchers say that the antioxidants in dark chocolate may help lower some types of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol when mixed with other foods like cocoa and almonds.

Research indicated that cocoa and dark chocolate are rich in flavonols, polyphenols, and antioxidants, surpassing the levels found in other tested foods, such as blueberries and acai berries.

3. Improve blood flow and lower blood pressure.

When flavanoids are present, the endothelium, which lines the vessels, can produce nitric oxide (NO).

NO sends messages to the arteries, telling them to loosen up. This makes it easier for blood to flow, naturally lowering blood pressure.

A lot of controlled studies have shown that cocoa and dark chocolate can lower blood pressure and improve blood flow. The benefits are usually pretty mild, though.

But one study with people who had type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure found no benefit, so don’t believe this completely. For people who are already taking medicine for high blood pressure, adding cocoa flavanols to their diet might not help them any more.

Given the disparities in the studies on this subject, more work is obviously required.

4. It increases HDL levels and prevents LDL oxidation.

When you eat dark chocolate, a lot of important risk factors for heart disease can improve. It might keep you from getting high cholesterol.

In a small study, eating dark chocolate with added lycopene was shown to lower overall cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and triglyceride levels by a large amount.

OXIDIZATION: Some types of LDL cholesterol are more likely to happen when they meet free radicals in your body. Oxidation changes the LDL particle into a reactive particle that can hurt other tissues, like the walls of your heart’s arteries.

There is no doubt that cocoa lowers the types of LDL that are more likely to oxidize. It contains a lot of strong antioxidants, and they do get into the bloodstream to protect lipoproteins from oxidative damage.

Dark chocolate has flavonols that can also lower insulin intolerance. This is another thing that can put you at risk for diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

Dark chocolate, on the other hand, has sugar in it, which can make things worse.

5. Reduce heart disease risk.

It looks like the chemicals in dark chocolate are very good at keeping LDL from oxidizing.

Long-term, this should make it so that a lot less cholesterol builds up in the arteries. This will lower the risk of developing heart disease.

In fact, studies show a pretty big difference.

Numerous studies have shown that eating chocolate or cocoa high in flavonols can lower blood pressure and improve heart health.

A review of studies showed that eating chocolate three times a week reduced the risk of heart disease by 9%. Eating chocolate more often didn’t seem to help much more.

According to another study, eating 45 grams of chocolate a week cuts the risk of heart disease by 11%. It doesn’t look like eating more than 100 grams per week is good for your health.

A 2017 study found that eating almonds with or without dark chocolate reduced LDL cholesterol levels.

All of these results are good, but we need more proof to know for sure that it was the chocolate that lowered the risk.

However, since the molecular process (lower blood pressure and less easily oxidized LDL) is known, it appears likely that daily consumption of dark chocolate may reduce the risk of heart disease.

6. Protect your skin from the sun.

It’s possible that the bioactive compounds in dark chocolate are also good for your face.

Flavonols can protect skin from sun damage, improve blood flow to the skin, and make the skin denser and more hydrated.

The level of UVB rays required to cause skin to turn red 24 hours after contact is known as the minimal erythemal dose (MED).

Studies have shown that MED can rise and even double after 12 weeks of eating cocoa or dark chocolate, which is high in flavonoids. Because of this, your face is better protected from the sun.

If you’re going to the beach soon, you might want to eat more dark chocolate in the weeks and months before. But talk to your doctor or a specialist first before giving up your regular skin care routine to eat more dark chocolate. Also, keep in mind that chocolate can’t take the place of sunscreen and other sun protection.

7. Improve brain function.

There’s still good news. Dark chocolate might also help your brain work better.

Studies have shown that when young people can get more blood to their brains when they eat cocoa that is high in flavanols. This could be why eating cocoa every day seems to help with remembering, learning words, and paying attention.

Flavonoids in cocoa may also help older people with mild cognitive impairment maintain their brain function and lower their risk of developing dementia. But we need to do more studying.

Cocoa also contains stimulants like caffeine and theobromine, which may be a major factor in its ability to improve brain function in the short term.

The bottom line

A lot of research has shown that cocoa is very good for your health, especially when it comes to preventing heart disease.

This doesn’t mean you should eat a lot of chocolate every day, though. Still, it’s high in calories and simple to eat too much of.

Have one or two squares after dinner, and try to enjoy them. To get the health benefits of cocoa without the fat of chocolate, try making hot cocoa without any sugar or cream.

Keep in mind that a lot of chocolate on the market is not good for you.

Pick good stuff, like dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa. This article might help you find the best dark chocolate.

Most dark chocolates have some sugar in them, but the less milk chocolate there is, the less sugar it will have overall.

Chocolate is an amazing food because it tastes great and is also good for you.

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