When life gets tough, chocolates are there to save the day. Taking a quick bite or having sight of several chocolate bars displayed in the candy aisle at the grocery store can automatically put a smile or a sigh of relief on our faces. Not to mention, their sweet delicious flavor brings our taste buds to seventh heaven. No wonder they’ve become one of the most favorite sweets enjoyed by people, of all ages, around the world. But who would’ve thought that eating this treat – particularly dark chocolates – provides lots of health benefits in our body? We’ve rounded up some facts as to what makes dark chocolates a superfood!
Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate
It has natural antioxidants. Made from cacao beans, dark chocolates contain loads of nutrients and antioxidant properties such as flavanols and polyphenols. These compounds work hand in hand to fight free radicals and prevent oxidative stress that can lead to aging and other diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
A study also showed that the cacao in dark chocolates has more flavanols than red wine, green tea, and fruits like blueberries and cranberries. In short, the higher the cacao content (70 percent or more), the healthier it is!
It lowers the risk of heart disease. Ever reminded of people getting flattered every time they receive dark chocolates from their loved ones on Valentine’s Day? Well, it’s more than just the thought that counts because these treats are heart-healthy.
Flavanols in dark chocolate prompt your body to produce nitric oxide, which causes blood vessels to dilate and improve blood circulation and pressure. In the same way, its polyphenols and theobromine compounds help balance cholesterol levels by decreasing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (good cholesterol) to prevent clogging of arteries. Though dark chocolates contain monounsaturated fat similar to what we find in olive oils, they are still high in saturated fat. Hence, portion control is highly suggested.
It activates insulin in your body. Although it doesn’t act as a panacea, dark chocolates with higher cacao content improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin and blood sugar metabolism, which lowers the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Research shows that people who eat this treat at least once a week had a lower prevalence of diabetes four to five years later.
Dark chocolates have a naturally bittersweet taste, which means that it has less sugar content. So, you don’t have to worry!
It’s food for your brain. Whether you’re preparing for hell week at school or going through a hard day at work, dark chocolates can be your best buddy.
Not only its compounds are scientifically proven to alleviate stress and improve your overall mood, but they may also significantly enhance your cognitive skills and prevent neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease – and it’s all big thanks to flavanols! It improves the blood flow in the brain as well as increases its neuroplasticity.
It’s good for the skin and relieves menstrual cramps. Did we mention that dark chocolates with 70-85 percent cacao content contain iron, magnesium, manganese, calcium, potassium, and other minerals essential for your skin and muscles?
Studies revealed that antioxidants in dark chocolates may protect your skin from sun damage while minerals, like manganese and calcium, produce collagen and repair the skin to keep it healthy and younger-looking. Another surprising thing is that these bars help reduce the excruciating pain that women feel during red days. Potassium, together with other minerals, works hard to stop the muscles from retaining water and feeling bloated. Now, you’ll never be left wondering why men often give dark chocolates to their girlfriends whenever they’re on their period. Probably not for the exact reason, but it makes sense! Though beneficial to our health, remember that quality dark chocolates should still be taken and enjoyed in moderation. Snag a square or two by getting your favorite bar in the supermarket or shop online!
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