Chocolate is one of the most popular sweet treats in the world. Of the three types of chocolate, white, milk, and dark, the dark variety is receiving much attention from the medical community. You were just waiting for an opportunity to eat more chocolate, weren’t you? Well, now you can, because even doctors are gushing about dark chocolate benefits.
This delectable delight has its origins in South America, where the Aztecs cultivated the cacao bean for its medicinal and culinary uses. Since then, chocolate has taken a worldwide tour, first travelling to Spain with Hernando Cortes, then to Switzerland, where Daniel Peter added milk to the dark chocolate. After arriving in the United States, it began to be manufactured in large quantities. Though the world’s first chocolate factory was opened way back in 1765, dark chocolate benefits have been gaining widespread attention only in the new millennium.
Dark chocolate is made of sugar and cocoa powder, without the addition of milk. The percentage of cocoa solid content within dark chocolate determines its quality. Dark chocolate requires a minimum of 35 percent of cocoa solid content. Essentially, higher the cocoa content, higher is the quality of the chocolate that is produced from it.
Five Dark Chocolate Benefits You’ll Be Happy To Know About
There are many dark chocolate benefits, a fact that’ll no doubt please chocolate lovers across the world. Some of these benefits are:
Lower Levels Of Bad Cholesterol
Dark chocolate is a rich source of flavonoids, which are a type of antioxidant. Flavonoids reduce the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL). They also help boost the levels of good cholesterol (HDL).
According to research carried out by Dr. Mee Yong Hong at the San Diego State University, participants who ate dark chocolate that contained 70 percent cocoa showed a 20 percent decrease in their LDL levels.
Flavonoids also increase blood flow within the heart, which prevents blood clots and arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
In addition to containing flavonoids, dark chocolate also contains phenols, which play an important role in reducing blood pressure.
The results of a 2003 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association have indicated that consuming dark chocolate can result in a five-point drop in systolic pressure and a 2-point drop in diastolic pressure.
Improved Brain Function
Dark chocolate is an excellent source of PhenylEthylAmine (PEA). This chemical compound has a positive impact on your cognitive processes as well as your mood. PEA increases the release of endorphins or “feel good” hormones that give rise to a feeling of happiness. It also raises blood flow to your brain.
Reduced Chances Of Dental Cavities
Dark chocolate is an excellent source of theobromine. This mineral hardens tooth enamel, which directly reduces your chances of developing cavities.
Theobromine also behaves as a mild stimulant and is effective in providing relief from coughs.
Eating dark chocolate boosts the antioxidant levels in your body. This helps your body fight free radical damage, which is otherwise known to cause premature aging and many types of cancer.
Protection From Strokes
Dark chocolate is an excellent source of iron, copper, magnesium, and potassium. Copper and potassium can help prevent strokes and cardiovascular diseases. The iron content is great for relieving iron deficiency in cases of anemia, while the magnesium helps prevent Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Dark chocolate is an excellent source of nutrients. Of course, it should not be your only source of food. Ideally, dark chocolate benefits can be derived by eating it in small amounts. There’s your excuse to go off in search of a slab of dark chocolate right away.