Health benefits of dark chocolate
Dark chocolate is loaded with goodness. Cacao is one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet. Studies show that dark chocolate (i prefer sugar free options) can improve health and lower the risk of many diseases.
1. Micro elements boost
I am talking now about 80-100% high quality preferably sugar free dark chocolate.
100g bar contains:
11 grams of fiber.
67% of the RDA for Iron.
58% of the RDA for Magnesium.
89% of the RDA for Copper.
98% of the RDA for Manganese.
It also has plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.
Apparently, 100 grams (3.5 ounces) is a pretty large portion (about 600 calories).
Consume it in moderation. 1-3 little pieces with your morning or lunch coffee will be enough to treat yourself.
2. Antioxidant miracle
Dark chocolate has one or the highest ORAC (stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, a measure of the antioxidant activity of foods).
Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants such as polyphenols, flavanols, catechins, etc.
One research showed that cocoa and dark chocolate contained more antioxidants namely polyphenols and flavanols than other super food such as blueberries and Acai berries.
3. Blood pressure regulator
The flavanols in dark chocolate can stimulate the endothelium, the lining of arteries, to produce Nitric Oxide (NO). One of its functions is to send signals to the arteries and vessels to relax, which regulates resistance to blood flow and therefore reduces blood pressure.
4. Save your heart
The compounds in dark chocolate appear to be highly protective against the oxidation of LDL (low density lipo-protein) that means in a long run a lower risk of cardio-vascular disease.
One study revealed by Authority Nutrition was found that the regular cacao consumption reduces the risk of cardiovascular death by 50%. Another study showed even great results: chocolate consumption 5+ times per week lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease by 57%
One more interesting research shown that eating chocolate 2 or more times a week lowers the risk of having calcified plaque in the arteries by 32%. Eating chocolate less frequently had no effect though.
5. Skin cancer protection
The flavonols are known as protecting agents against sun-induced damage. Also they improve blood flow to the skin and help to increase hydration.
6. Feed your brain
Cocoa significantly improves cognitive function not only in young population but also in elderly people with mental impairment. The key reason is high concentration of flavanols, lecithin, and theobromine, as well as moderate amount of caffeine. Another interesting cognitive function of dark chocolate is so-called dopamine-like effect (increase in overall feeling of happiness in well-being during and after consumption).