7 Proven Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate, with its bittersweet flavour, is a guilty pleasure to many. Now, with a large number of studies highlighting the various health benefits of consuming dark chocolate, you have all the more reason to indulge your cravings. Health benefits of dark chocolate: Dark chocolate is considered to be a superfood. Loaded with beneficial minerals such as iron, magnesium and zinc, the cocoa in dark chocolate is also rich in powerful antioxidants. These nutrients have been found to have numerous health benefits. Here we review 7 such health benefits of dark chocolate that have scientific backing:
Dark chocolate has a high cocoa content of 75-80%. It is loaded with beneficial nutrients. 100gm of the same contains approximately:
- 11 grams of fibre
- 58% of the RDI for magnesium
- 67% of the RDI for iron
- 89% of the RDI for copper
- 98% of the RDI for manganese
- It is also rich in zinc, phosphorus and potassiumThe fat content is composed mainly of saturated and monounsaturated fats, with very small amounts of the harmful polyunsaturated fat.
- A powerful source of antioxidants Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants such as polyphenols, flavanols, and catechins, among others. Scientific studies have found that as a result of its high antioxidant content, dark chocolate is very effective at neutralizing disease-causing free radicals and preventing the oxidative stress they cause.
- Lowers blood pressure Dark chocolate has high magnesium content. Studies have found that this helps lower blood pressure. Additionally, the bioactive compounds in dark chocolate have been found to boost nitric oxide levels in the body. Nitric oxide sends signals to receptors in our arteries, getting them to dilate. This reduces the resistance to blood flow, thereby lowering blood pressure.
- Lowers cholesterol Moderate amount of dark chocolate has been proven to lower bad cholesterol. This helps reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by preventing the formation of plaque deposits that narrow down the arteries.
- Improves brain function The cocoa component of dark chocolate may enhance brain function resulting in improved task performance and general awareness, by increasing the flow of blood to the brain. Dark chocolate also contains stimulants such as caffeine and theobromine which lead to short-term improvements in brain function.
- Anti-diabetic effect When the body’s cells resist insulin, blood sugar levels rise dangerously. A recent study has found dark chocolate to be effective in countering insulin resistance and in lowering fasting glucose levels.
- Anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer properties Chronic inflammation may contribute to DNA mutations and growth of cancer cells, thereby increasing the risk for different types of cancers. Research has confirmed that the antioxidants found in dark chocolate are effective at countering inflammatory biomarkers and combating DNA damage that encourages the growth of cancers.