Most people have a sweet tooth and chocolate is the one luxury that we may all be able benefit from. Dark high quality chocolate in particular, it has been said, has several health benefits that may make it a bit more justifiable to snack on!
Why Dark Chocolate?
For many years, chocolate has been viewed as the ultimate comfort food and it has become one of the most popular foods in the world. However, due to the over consumption of this silky, dark, sweet food many health practitioners warn against it. They say that it’s calorie-laden and does little in the way of real’ nutrition.
Obviously, over-consumption of any food can have a detrimental effect on general health. Recent studies, however, have shown that consumption (in moderation of course) of dark chocolate has many health benefits. So eating about an ounce of dark chocolate every day is actually a good thing!
The Health Benefits
Lowers cholesterol - In studies, dark chocolate has proven to lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. As we know, too much bad cholesterol is'nt good for us. These studies showed that dark chocolate actually provided health benefits when it comes to cholesterol.
It’s good for the heart - Dark chocolate contains nutrients that are known to help lower blood sugar and increase blood flow. In addition, anything that lowers cholesterol is good for the heart. Some observational studies have showed that dark chocolate can reduce cardiovascular death in men by up to 50%. These aren’t scientific studies, but given that dark chocolate lowers cholesterol and can lower blood pressure, then these findings are significant.
It may improve your skin - Dark chocolate contains lots of flavanols, which protect the skin against sun damage. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can do without sun cream! However, it does mean that the flavanols will reduce the damage on the skin due to the sun. Therefore, you could start increasing your intake of dark chocolate a few weeks before you go on holiday. In general, dark chocolate has a positive effect on the skin.
Good source of antioxidants - Dark chocolate also contains a lot ofantioxidants, which are great for promoting heart health, decreasing risk of infection, and fighting free radicals in the body. The cocoa tree is one of the best source of antioxidants on the planet. This means that its fruits – the cocoa pods also have antioxidant properties. Many studies have shown dark chocolate to have a higher amount of antioxidants than blueberries or Acai berries.
Can prevent diabetes. Insulin is a word associated with diabetes. Many studies have shown that dark chocolate improves insulin sensitivity. This means that dark chocolate can improve blood sugar levels. Because of its properties it can actually be incorporated in a diabetic diet
It’s nutritious. There are many good aspects to chocolate. Of course, chocolate contains calories – up to 242 per 100 grams. This means that it should be eaten in moderation. However, dark chocolate contains minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper and manganese, zinc, potassium and selenium. It is also a good source of fiber, containing about 11 grams.
Why dark and not milk chocolate
The reason is that when you compare dark chocolate with milk chocolate, dark chocolate comes out trumps when it comes to nutritional benefit. Dark chocolate has more fiber and nutrients, but less sugars and cholesterol.
It has to be said that, when talking about dark chocolate, we are talking about chocolate with a cacao percentage of 70% and more.
It is also worth considering that dark chocolate has less carbs and half the sugar of milk chocolate and it’s easy to see why dark chocolate has many health benefits.
Dark chocolate is definitely the preferred flavor of chocolate when it comes to those midnight snacks or holiday treats. Just make sure you don’t over indulge!
I'm not a medical expert and would always recommend you seek medical advice for any conditions mentioned in this article. Dark chocolate isn't a substitute for medicines prescribed by a medical practitioner