Why is dark chocolate considered to be healthy? The reason is very simple. Chocolate is made out of plants, seeds to be more precise. When the cocoa seeds are made into dark chocolate, it contains high amounts of flavonoids. These flavonoids are anti-oxidants, which destroy free radicals in the body. Free radicals are known to result in pre-mature aging, heart disease and also certain types of cancer. Dark chocolate contains more antioxidants compared to any other food source and the flavonoids in the chocolate help to control blood pressure by producing nitric oxide. Furthermore, flavonoids are also known to repair the balance of certain hormones within the body.
Heart and Dark Chocolate
Research has proven over and over again that dark chocolate is not only good for the heart, but for the entire cardiovascular system. Hence, it is recommended that you consume a small bar of dark chocolate every day to derive maximum benefits. Some of the heart benefits of dark chocolate include the following:
- Lowers Blood Pressure: According to several studies, people who suffer from elevated blood pressure would actually benefit from eating dark chocolate every day, as it would help to lower blood pressure.
- Lowers Cholesterol: There is evidence to show that regular consumption of dark chocolate can help to reduce bad cholesterol, also known as LDL cholesterol, by up to 10 percent.
Other Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate
Besides tasting delicious, and lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, dark chocolate has other health benefits. Some of these are enumerated below:
- Chocolate stimulates the production of endorphins and that is why after eating chocolate a person feels happy and relaxed.
- Chocolate also has serotonin, which elevates mood and works like an anti-depressant.
- Chocolate contains compounds, like theobromine and caffeine, which act as stimulants and keep you energized.
Chocolate and Fat
Many people assume that consuming chocolate means that a person is consuming high amounts of unhealthy fats. However, the good news is that the fats present in chocolate are healthy fats, such as oleic acid. But chocolate also contains stearic acid and palmitic acid.
Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fat, which is also present in olive oil. Stearic acid is saturated fat, but research has shown that it has no effect on blood cholesterol levels. Finally, palmitic acid is also saturated fat, and it is responsible for enhancing blood cholesterol levels and also increasing the chances of getting heart disease. However, the presence of palmitic acid in chocolate is just one-third.
How to Balance Calories? While chocolate is healthy, it does not mean that you should over-indulge. You should not be consuming more than 100 gm of dark chocolate per day which translate to around 3.5 oz. to get maximum health benefits.
Typically a bar of dark chocolate contains about 400 calories. If you consume half a bar, you are eating around 200 calories. Hence, reduce 200 calories when you eat some other food. Make sure you reduce intake of sweets and other desserts and snacks so that you maintain and balance out your intake of calories.
Eat Just Dark Chocolate: Make sure that you opt for dark chocolate over other types of chocolate, such as milk chocolate or white chocolate. These chocolates do not have the same health benefits as dark chocolate. Furthermore, milk chocolate prevents the absorption of antioxidants in your body and can also have an effect on how the body uses them.
Taste The Chocolate: Chocolate contains more than 300 compounds. Amazing, isn’t it? If you truly want to enjoy the taste of chocolate, you have to savor it by appreciating its smell, the feel on your taste buds and finally relishing its unique and delicious taste.
Avoid Nougat: While nougat can be delicious to taste, it is nothing more than sugar and unhealthy fat. So any benefit you derive from consuming dark chocolate will be negated when you eat nougat and other caramelized sweets. Instead stick to pure dark chocolate to get maximum health benefits.
More Articles :