Although chocolate is high in calories and may not seem to offer any health benefits, dark chocolate can be good for you in a number of ways. Not many people will believe this, but consuming dark chocolate offers many health benefits. Let’s take a look at what these health benefits are:
Prevents Heart Diseases
Dark chocolates contain high amounts of flavonoids. Flavonoids are compounds similar to antioxidants and protect cells from free radicals in the body. Free radicals are toxic molecules which are produced when breaking down of food takes place in the body or when the body is exposed to smoke or excessive sunlight. Cell damage is mainly caused due to the presence of free radicals which can lead to heart diseases.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Dark chocolate can also help produce Nitric Oxide in the body. Nitric Oxide or NO is a gas which helps the arteries to relax and this effect in turn helps lower blood pressure.
Lowers Bad Cholesterol
Dark chocolate can help improve a number of risk factors which are related to heart diseases. The cocoa powder used in dark chocolate can significantly reduce bad cholesterol. When bad cholesterol or LDL reacts with free radicals, they become oxidized LDL and these have the potential to damage other tissues including the lining of the arteries in the heart. Consuming dark chocolate can help decrease total LDL in humans. Studies suggest that cocoa powder contain high amounts of antioxidants and when they enter the bloodstream, they protect lipoproteins from oxidative damage.
Controls Blood Sugar
A number of studies have suggested that dark chocolate can actually help protect against type 2 diabetes. Presence of flavonoids can reduce insulin resistance. They can help the cells to function properly to use the insulin in the body efficiently. Since dark chocolate has a low glycemic index, they don’t cause sugar levels in the body to rise greatly. They also promote efficient circulation of blood and keep the blood vessels healthy.
Provides Essential Vitamins and Minerals
There is a range of essential vitamins and minerals contained in dark chocolates. Some of them available in high concentrations include iron, potassium, magnesium and copper. Potassium and copper are responsible for preventing against cardiovascular ailments and stroke. Iron protects against anemia and iron deficiency. Magnesium is responsible for protecting against type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
Promotes weight loss
If you’re trying to lose weight, no doubt you’ve been told to stay away from chocolate. This might be true for milk chocolate, but dark chocolate has many health benefits such as promoting weight loss. The dark chocolate stabilizes blood sugar, controls appetite and reduces cravings. It also tends to improve your mood, curbing your desire to consume more foods. All these effects help you consume less calories during the day while taking in many beneficial nutrients.
In addition to all the benefits mentioned above, dark chocolate is also beneficial for the brain. It improves flow of blood to the brain which helps improve cognitive function. There are a number of chemical compounds contained in dark chocolate which can actually make you feel happier. Caffeine is another compound which acts as a mild stimulant. Research has shown that dark chocolate also helps harden tooth enamel so there is lower risk of getting cavities as well. Overall, it can be said that dark chocolate is beneficial for your health.