This Article is From Apr 30, 2018

Dark Chocolates: 7 Surprising Health Benefits

Dark chocolates are made from the seeds of cocoa tree which is one of the best sources of antioxidants in the world. Click here to know more about its health benefits.

Dark Chocolates: 7 Surprising Health Benefits

Dark chocolates are beneficial for your heart and overall health

Highlights

  • Dark chocolates are made from the seeds of cocoa tree
  • Dark chocolates are beneficial for a number of aspects of heart disease
  • Dark chocolates may even improve brain function

Chocolates are love! Be it in your happy times or when you are feeling blue, the excellent mix of milk, sugar and cocoa is good enough to soothe you in every mood. For any person on a weight loss or fitness spree, milk chocolates are sinfully delicious. When we say sinfully delicious, we refer to its creamy and oh-so-soothing flavor which is satisfying for the taste buds but not that healthy. But here we shall introduce you to the healthier cousin of milk chocolates; the dark chocolates. This variety of chocolate comes under the superfoods category. This is because of its high antioxidant content and the fact that it is extremely low in terms of sugar. Remember; darker the chocolate; the less sugar it will contain.

Dark chocolates are made from the seeds of cocoa tree which is one of the best sources of antioxidants in the world. As per studies, dark chocolates are beneficial for your heart and overall health.

Also read: Dark Chocolate Leads Your Way To A Healthy Heart

 
dark chocolateDark chocolate: They are good for heart
 

But is there a good time to relish a delicious and healthy treat? Of course not! You can enjoy dark chocolates as often as you want. However, for a person who wishes to lose weight with these chocolates, dark chocolates should be eaten on an empty stomach or 30 minutes after a solid-food meal. They can also be eaten as a snack between lunch and dinner. One or maximum two blocks of dark chocolate should be sufficient at a time. But you must be careful of the quality of chocolates you choose for yourself. Go for organic dark chocolate, this variety contains 70% or more of cocoa content.

So now that you know all about these chocolates, take a look at the many health benefits it has to offer.

1. Nutrition

If you go for the variety which is high in cocoa content, you are opting for something which is very nutritious. A 100 gram bar of dark chocolate gives you 70-85% cocoa, 11 gram fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, zinc and manganese. It gives you monounsaturated, polyunsaturates and saturated variety of fats. However, it also contains calories, caffeine and some amount of sugar so it should be consumed in limited quantities.

 
dark chocolateDark chocolate: They are rich in antioxidants
 

2. It is a powerful source of antioxidants

Dark chocolate is made from cocoa seeds which are one of the best sources of antioxidants in the world. Opt for the organic variety of dark chocolate or any variety which contains more than 70% cocoa content. These chocolates are loaded with biologically active organic compounds like catechins, flavanols, and polyphenols.

3. Improving blood circulation and lowering blood pressure

Flavanols, one of the antioxidants in dark chocolates, stimulates the endothelium, the lining of the arteries, to produce Nitric Oxide. This gas relieves the arteries and lowers blood pressure within them. However, it is worth noting that this has a very minor but statistically significant impact on blood pressure.

 
dark chocolateDark chocolate: They improve blood pressure
Photo Credit: iStock

4. Raises good cholesterol levels

Dark chocolates are beneficial for a number of aspects of heart disease. They are known to lower oxidative stress of bad cholesterol levels and boost the good cholesterol levels in the body. Oxidized bad cholesterol levels are capable of damaging your arteries, thereby increasing the risk of heart diseases.

5. Controls insulin resistance

The properties of cocoa in dark chocolate can be beneficial for diabetics. It has the ability to increase the body's sensitivity to insulin which helps in lowering blood sugar levels. This way, it reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. If you already are diabetic, eating dark chocolate in moderation can help with better management of type 2 diabetes.

 
dark chocolateDark chocolate: They check insulin resistance
 

6. Protects the skin against the sun

Bioactive compounds of dark chocolate can protect your skin from sun damage. It can improve blood circulation to the skin and increase its density and hydration. So if you are planning to hit a sunny place for your next vacation, start filling up on dark chocolates a few weeks in advance.

 
skinDark chocolate: They protect the skin from sun damage
 

7. It may improve brain function

Dark chocolates may even improve brain function. In the elderly, these chocolates are known to prevent mental impairment. They also contain stimulants like caffeine which can improve brain function in the short term.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.