No one can resist the urge to eat a dark chocolate bar because of its sweet and inviting aroma. It is good to know for all chocolate lovers that while they enjoy a bar, there are loads of health benefits of dark chocolate that they can get. Its nutrient content comes from the cocoa tree, and the cocoa seed is the best source of antioxidants. However, milk and white chocolate do not have the same nutritional value.
Studies show that cacao has more antioxidant content than green tea and red wine, but still eating in excess is bad for health. Also, consider bars with 70% cacao or higher because the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health warns the public that bars with a lower percentage of cacao have more sugar and loaded with unhealthy fats. You need to choose wisely to get the best dark chocolate nutrition.
1. Loaded with Nutrients
Buying a high-quality dark chocolate bar is imperative because it means that it has high cocoa content. Consuming 100 grams with 70 percent or more cocoa has a high fiber content of 11 grams. Surprisingly it is loaded with a high amount of iron, magnesium, manganese, copper, potassium, selenium, and zinc. Of course, you should not regularly consume 100 grams of dark chocolate despite all of these nutrients, especially diabetic. Dark chocolate benefits those who will eat it in moderation.
2. Powerhouse of Antioxidant
The effectiveness of antioxidants in food is measured scientifically using an ORAC or oxygen radical absorbance capacity. It is done by putting free radicals in a food sample and measuring how fast the antioxidant food content can eliminate these free radicals. Although it is done in a test tube, raw cocoa shows the highest score among other foods.
Eating dark chocolate is good for you because of its organic compounds like flavanols, polyphenols, and catechins that are higher than some fruits tested like the acai and blueberries.
3. Improve Blood Flow
Flavanols content provides dark chocolate nutrition as it can stimulate the movement of the endothelium (lining of the artery) to produce nitric oxide or NO. The primary function of the NO is to send signals to these arteries to settle down, thus lowering the resistance to create normal blood flow to promote lower blood pressure.
4. Increase Good Cholesterol
Dark chocolate benefits the body by increasing its HDL or good cholesterol, thus preventing the oxidation of LDL or bad cholesterol. Oxidation of LDL means interaction with free radicals that can create massive damage to cells and tissues of the heart.
5. Lessen the Risk of Heart Diseases
Health benefits of dark chocolate are for heart health because of the reduction of LDL oxidation. In the long run, it will lead to much lesser cholesterol to clog the arteries, thus lowering the risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases.
Observational studies have been conducted by health professionals in different parts of the world. One study in 470 men who consumed cocoa resulted in reducing the mortality rate from heart diseases by 50 percent for 15 years. Further clinical studies on humans are needed to support the claims thoroughly.
6. Help the Skin from UV Rays
This sweet treat doses not only benefits the inside but also can offer tons of protection to the skin. Bioactive compounds in dark chocolate are good for you as it can promote healthy skin. One of the many active compounds found in it is a flavonol that can safeguard your skin against harmful damage from the sun, increase blood flow and hydration.
The amount of UV rays that can cause skin redness according to minimal erythemal dose or MED is 24 hours. In a study conducted to 30 people, the amount of MED doubled right after eating dark chocolate that is high in flavonol at 12 weeks.
7. Improve Brain Function
The good news is the fact that dark chocolate nutrition is good for brain health. Studies conducted to different individuals show that eating food high in flavonol within five days has a significant effect on improving blood flow to the brain. It is also a source of the stimulant called caffeine and theobromine that is known to improve overall brain function.