Dark Chocolates: Health Benefits And More
You were waiting all this while to finally find a scientific justification for all your cravings, no? Go ahead, learn up these facts, but remember – we never asked you to eat that entire 500 gm bar. Shame on you!Chocolate is the only true friend we have in the twenty-first century.
Whether you’re feeling low or experiencing the afternoon slump or maybe you just broke up, chocolate has always been on your side when you needed it.
Now about its darker version, it’s fair to say that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea…or mug of hot cocoa, if you must. Cacao, the original form of chocolate, has umpteen benefits that are often nullified by the excessive sugar and butter added to it before it’s sold in the market.
But the truth is, chocolate is a superfood, and dark chocolate, with a high percentage (> 60 per cent) of cocoa solids, and little or no added sugar, is good for more than just curing heartbreaks. Dark chocolate has a rich, intense flavor, and a chalky, bitter taste, which might not be considered very pleasing to the tongue.
But snack smart: Stick to healthy chocolate with at least 70 per cent cacao (or cocoa, which is cacao in its roasted, ground form) and stay ahead of everyone. Find it difficult to fathom?
Here’s what a 100-gram bar of dark chocolate with 70-85 per cent cocoa contains:
- 11 grams of fibre.
- 67 per cent of the RDA for iron.
- 58 per cent of the RDA for magnesium.
- 89 per cent of the RDA for copper.
- 98 per cent of the RDA for manganese.
- It also has plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium.
And on top of all this, dark chocolate:
- Is loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active, and function as antioxidants. These include polyphenols, flavonoids, and catechins, amongst others. They battle the free radicals in the body and slow down ageing, improve blood circulation, and keep the brain sharp.
- Also reduces insulin resistance, which is another common risk factor for many diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
- Has bioactive compounds that are great for your skin. Flavonoids can protect against sun-induced damage, improve blood flow to the skin, and increase skin density and hydration. So remember to load up on dark chocolate before a beach vacation. Keep it within reasonable limits though – you want to be looking good in that bikini.
- May also significantly improve cognitive function in elderly people with mental impairment. It also improves verbal fluency, and lowers several risk factors for various diseases relating to cognitive function.
- Reduces LDL (bad cholesterol) levels and raises levels of HDL (good cholesterol), potentially lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Contains phenylethylamine (PEA), which is the same chemical that your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love. PEA encourages your brain to release feel-good endorphins.
Image source: https://spiritedtable.com/
Message to take home:
Now that you have science to back you up, you can proudly chomp away on that bar of dark chocolate once in a while. Remember, chocolate is only good as long as it's dark and is not eaten in monstrous quantities, so be good.