Chocolates are something everyone loves. That is all the more true, when you feel down and need a fresh boost of serotonin. But not all chocolates are made equally. When you are choosing chocolates, you need to select the one with the highest amount of cacao content, more than 75% with little to no sugar, and yes, it would be bitter, but therein lies the benefits. Chocolates come from certain parts of the cacao tree, called the ‘Theobroma cacao .’ The word originates from the Greek words ‘theo’ meaning God and ‘brosi’ meaning food.
So, that means ‘food of the gods.’ We bet you cannot say no to chocolates. We know, chocolates are delicious and you can count them as one of the healthy foods. But, ensure you choose the raw, processed cocoa beans variety that is high in antioxidant properties. Dark chocolates are also rich are essentially antioxidants. Flavanols or Flavonoids inhibit the negative changes brought in the body by free radicals. So, here are a few amazing benefits of dark chocolates you should know about.
Lowers Blood Pressure
If you have high blood pressure, dark chocolate can help you as it is rich in magnesium. Also, eating dark chocolate can raise the nitric oxide levels in your body. Nitric oxide is naturally available in our bodies and works on the small receptors in the blood vessels and helps dilate them, thus lowering the overall blood pressure. Research says that people who eat dark chocolate regularly find their blood pressure dropping by almost 2 millimeters of mercury.
Moderate consumption of dark chocolate can help lower the LDL or the bad cholesterol and raise the HD, which is the good cholesterol. This also helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and instances of stroke. LDL can build up on the inside of arteries and form plaque deposits, thereby narrowing arteries. This condition can lead to heart attacks. So including dark chocolate can help reduce the LDL and may even prevent heart attacks.
Improves Brain Functioning
Dark chocolates can also help you focus more and help boost your memory and even delay the brain’s aging process. A University of Nottingham found that eating dark chocolate can help boost blood flow to certain areas of the brain for a few hours. This can also help increase the performance in tasks and improve alertness. Chocolates can also amp up your memory by almost 30% and also up your problem-solving skills.
Improves Heart Health
Chocolate is beneficial for your heart too. A study conducted by the Wageningen University in the Netherlands and dark chocolate helps restore flexibility in the arteries. It prevents the white blood cells from sticking to the blood vessels’ walls.
According to the American Chemical Society (ACS), eating dark chocolates can impact the stomach’s gut bacteria. It works as anti-inflammatory compounds that help in a healthy heart. According to Journal Heart, you can lower your cardiovascular disease and stroke risk by eating small amounts of chocolate every day.
Helps Control Diabetes
Chocolate is to help endothelial function and boost insulin sensitivity. The endothelium is a key process in aiding arterial health and insulin resistance. It is also one of the most reliable statistics to determine whether a person will have diabetes in the future. Cocoa and its flavonoids can help impact these systems. Opt for dark chocolate with little to no sugar, and it is important to indulge in moderation and mindfully reap the most benefits.
Helps Control Weight
A 2012 study carried by the University of California that checked the diet of 1000 Americans found that people who ate dark chocolate a few times a week were a lot slimmer than the ones who only ate it occasionally. The researchers also concluded that even though dark chocolate is high in calories and contains said that dark chocolate is rich in calories, it may aid in weight-loss. You can also consume dark chocolate as dessert after your meals, which may not lead to weight gain.
You see that there are not one but many reasons for you to reach out for that dark chocolate bar, or that scoop of dark chocolate powder. Indulge, enjoy and reap the benefits. But make sure you do it in moderation!