How Does Chocolate Affect Your Health?
The history of chocolates dates back to 450 BC. The aromatic cocoa seeds are believed to be first fermented in southern Mexico. The ancient people considered cocoa as the gift from the god of wisdom. Today, even after so many centuries later, chocolate is still regarded as a divine food. It is an ideal aphrodisiac. A perfect mood enhancer and also packs lots of health benefits.
There are many types of commercial chocolate varieties available in the market today. The sugar-free or the dark chocolates are the ones that promise most of the benefits. They are low on sugar, calories, and are rich in cocoa content.
Here is a list of top 6 Health Benefits of Eating Chocolates:
1. High on Nutrition
The high-quality dark chocolates are very nutritious. They contain significant quantities of cocoa. They are also loaded with soluble fiber and minerals.
A 100 g bar of sugar-free chocolate with 80% cocoa typically has:
● 98% of the RDA for manganese
● 89% of the RDA for copper
● 58% of the RDA for magnesium
● 67% of the RDA for iron
● 11 g of fiber
The RDA is a Recommended Daily Allowance limit for adults.
The dark chocolates are also high on fatty acids. The fat profile is mostly concentrated around saturated and monosaturated fats.
2. Chocolate Rich in Antioxidants
Chocolates with a high percentage of cocoa are excellent sources of powerful antioxidants. The organic ingredients such as polyphenols, flavonols, and catechins are known to beat the free radicals. The level of antioxidants in chocolates is higher than green tea or even red wine. The regular consumption of dark chocolate can detoxify your body.
3. Chocolate Helps in regulating Blood Pressure
The flavonoids in chocolate stimulate the lining of the arteries, endothelium, to release Nitric Oxide. The prime function of Nitric Oxide is to dilate and relax the arteries. This alleviates the resistance to blood flow and lowers blood pressure.
4. Raises Good Cholesterol and lowers Bad Cholesterol
A balanced dose of cocoa laden chocolate has proven to increase the HDL and lower the overall LDL count in adults. The LDL on reacting with free radicals forms oxidized LDL which is responsible for damaging the arteries. The presence of antioxidants in chocolate protects the lipoproteins from the oxidized LDL. Dark chocolate may also lower insulin resistance. This is a great help to diabetic patients.
It is plausible that eating chocolate helps in lowering the total LDL count. This leads to a healthy heart condition and minimal chances of strokes.
5. Protector of the Skin
The flavonols present in the chocolate are true friends of your skin. They increase the blood flow to the skin and improve water retention abilities. It is always a good idea to make the chocolate a part of your meal a few weeks before your beach vacation.
6. Improved Cognitive Functions
The reasonable amount of caffeine and theobromine are good for critical brain functions. It improves alertness and focus. Many people have also reported enhanced verbal fluency with systematic eating of chocolates.
Risks and Precautions
Chocolate provides so many unique health benefits. However, there are some caveats too. Chocolates, especially the dark-colored ones with a bitter taste, are packed with lots of caffeine. The overconsumption of these chocolates can lead to some serious damage. Dehydration and indigestion are very common. In extreme cases, people may suffer from insomnia. A mindful eating regimen is a must to avoid any trouble.
Your taste buds are blessed to enjoy the melting chocolates in your mouth. The smooth texture and bitter-sweet aroma of dark chocolate is surely an unforgettable experience. They are best enjoyed in small quantities. The darker the chocolate the healthier it is.