Dark chocolate can be good for you ?!?!
Well, I think many would think how on earth can dark chocolate or any other form of chocolate be healthy !!
But, in reality, dark chocolate is actually the best option available to curb your chocolate cravings. Let’s discuss why.
Nutritional content of dark chcolate
Before we discuss in detail how can dark chocolate be healthy, I think we must understand the nutrients and calories present in it.
According to WebMD –
A 1-ounce (around 28.3 gram) serving of dark chocolate, between 70% to 85% cacao solids, contains:
So, now that we know all the nutritional facts about our favorite sweet, let’s see how exactly these nutrients make it healthy to consume every day!!
How exactly does dark chocolate benefit our body?
See, apart from these nutrients Cocoa is also rich in Flavan-3-ols or Flavanols. Now, these are the chemicals (naturally present in cocoa) that give cocoa beans their bitter taste. But actually, this presence of bitter taste is “sweet” for your health. This is because of the many beneficiary properties of Flavanols like antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and free-radical scavenging properties. Now let’s see all these benefits in detail –
- Improved blood flow – When these cocoa flavanols enter our body, it increases the production of nitric oxide. Now, this nitric oxide relaxes the blood vessels and dilates their walls. And if the blood vessels are more open, it will obviously improve our blood circulation.
- Decreased blood pressure – When our blood vessels get more open and wide, our blood will flow very easily through them and won’t put much pressure on the walls of blood vessels. And as a result, blood pressure is decreased. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may also be connected here.
- Improved mental abilities – We know that Cocoa improves blood flow, and as a result, there is a boost in blood flow to the brain also. And increased blood flow in the brain can boost the activities in our brain for some time. And the small amount of caffeine present in dark chocolate also improves our concentration, memory, and our mood.
- Relieve from stress – This happens because of one specific mineral present in dark chocolate and that is, Magnesium. I think these lines from chandraMD perfectly sum up the role of Mg in our brain. “By blocking stimulating neurotransmitters and binding to calm, restful receptors in the brain, magnesium can help us relax. It also has effects on the HPA axis, the body’s main system responsible for managing and responding to stress, by regulating stress hormones like cortisol.”
I think till now you may have understood the many benefits of dark chocolate. And now you would assume that “Now, let’s feast on it like never before!! ” as you know its benefits.
But there’s a catch.
You should not eat it in large amounts just because of the benefits I discussed above as you should note that dark chocolate is a very calorie-dense food. IT MUST BE CONSUMED IN MODERATION. Otherwise, you may become obese due to excessive consumption of it and counter all its benefits.
Also, mostly these benefits are caused by the flavanols present in it but these flavanols are present in other food items too. Like blueberries, strawberries, grapes, green tea, tomatoes, lettuce, etc. So, you don’t have to consume dark chocolate every day to reap its benefits. However, even if you want to consume it daily, make sure that you’re not eating more than an ounce or two.
And finally, always check the labels properly before purchasing them. A bar of chocolate can be considered dark only if it includes more than 70% of cocoa content.