Dark chocolate has several nutrients that may be beneficial to your health.
It’s one of the greatest sources of antioxidants you’ll discover, and it’s made from the cocoa tree’s seed.
According to research, dark chocolate can enhance your health and lessen your risk of heart disease.
Here are seven scientifically proven health advantages of dark chocolate or cocoa.
It’s quite healthful if you buy high-quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content.
It has a lot of soluble fibre and is high in minerals.
• A 100-gram bar of 70–85 percent cocoa dark chocolate has 11 grammes of fibre.
• 67 percent of value for iron
• 58 percent of the daily value for magnesium
• 89 percent of the copper DV
• 98 percent of the manganese DV
• It also contains a lot of potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium.
Of course, 100 grammes (3.5 ounces) is a substantial quantity that should not be consumed on a regular basis. These nutrients also include 600 calories and a modest sugar content.
As a result, dark chocolate should be taken in moderation.
Cocoa and dark chocolate have fatty acid profile. The fats are largely made up of oleic acid (a heart-healthy fat found in olive oil), stearic acid, and palmitic acid.
Stearic acid has no effect on blood cholesterol. Despite the fact that palmitic acid can raise cholesterol levels, it only accounts for one-third of total fat calories.
Dark chocolate contains stimulants such as caffeine and theobromine, but the caffeine concentration is so low that it is unlikely to keep you awake at night.
2. An excellent source of antioxidants
ORAC stands for oxygen radical absorption capacity. It is a measure of a food’s antioxidant activity.
Essentially, researchers test a number of free radicals (bad) against a food sample to evaluate how well the antioxidants in the food can disarm the free radicals.
ORAC levels are questioned for their biological significance because they are measured in a test tube and may not have the same impact in the body.
It is worth noting, however, that raw, unprocessed cocoa beans are among the highest-scoring meals evaluated.
Dark chocolate contains a high concentration of chemical components that are physiologically active and serve as antioxidants. Polyphenols, flavanols, and catechins are a few examples.
One research found that cocoa and dark chocolate had more antioxidant activity, polyphenols, and flavanols than any other fruit investigated, including blueberries and acai berries.
3. It has the potential to enhance blood flow and decrease blood pressure.
Dark chocolate flavanols can stimulate the endothelium, the lining of arteries, to create nitric oxide (NO) (3Trusted Source).
One of NO’s functions is to send signals to the arteries to relax, decreasing blood flow resistance and, as a result, blood pressure.
Several controlled studies demonstrate that cocoa and dark chocolate can enhance blood flow and reduce blood pressure, however the benefits are generally minor.
However, one research with high blood pressure patients found no impact, so take this with a grain of salt.
Given the wide range of studies on this topic, it is evident that additional study is required.
4. Increases HDL while protecting LDL from oxidation.
Dark chocolate consumption can improve numerous significant risk factors for heart disease.
Cocoa powder was found to dramatically lower oxidised LDL (bad) cholesterol in males in a controlled trial. It also boosted HDL while decreasing total LDL in people with high cholesterol.
The term “oxidised LDL” refers to LDL cholesterol that has interacted with free radicals.
This makes the LDL particle reactive and capable of causing harm to other tissues, such as the lining of the arteries in your heart.
It seems to reason that chocolate reduces oxidised LDL. It has a plethora of potent antioxidants that find their way into the circulation and protect lipoproteins from oxidative damage.
Dark chocolate flavanols can help improve insulin resistance, which is another significant risk factor for illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.
Dark chocolate, on the other hand, includes sugar, which might have the opposite effect.
5. May lower the risk of heart disease
Components of dark chocolate appear to be extremely protective against LDL oxidation.
In the long run, this should result in considerably less cholesterol accumulating in the arteries, lowering the risk of heart disease.
In fact, numerous long-term observational studies demonstrate a significant improvement.
In a study of 470 older men, cocoa was found to lower the risk of mortality from heart disease by 50% over a 15-year period.
Another study discovered that eating chocolate twice a week lowered the risk of forming calcified plaque in the arteries by 32%. There was no advantage to consuming less chocolate.
Another study discovered that eating dark chocolate at least five times each week cut the risk of heart disease by 57%.
According to a 2017 scientific investigation, participants who ingested almonds with or without dark chocolate had lower LDL cholesterol levels.
Of course, because all four studies are observational, it’s unclear if the chocolate was the cause of the lower risk.
However, because the biological mechanism is understood (lower blood pressure and oxidised LDL), it’s possible that consuming dark chocolate on a regular basis may lessen the risk of heart disease.