Unlike your favorite chocolate bars, dark chocolates don’t have the heavenly sweet taste to it. However, it is loaded with many essential nutrients that have a positive impact on your health.
Apart from being rich in nutrients, the seeds of the cocoa tree is also a great source of antioxidants.
In this article, we will go through some of the benefits of consuming dark chocolates baked by science and scientific studies.
1 It is a great source of antioxidants
Your body gathers free radicals through bad diet habits and bad lifestyle. When left unattended these free radicals can pose a huge threat to your overall health.
Oxidative stress accounts for numerous ill health effects which include cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.
What keeps these dangerous free radicals in check is antioxidants.
Antioxidants help to disarm free radicals and nullify its bad effects effectively.
There are a number of foods that are rich in antioxidants which includes fresh fruits, berries, and vegetables.
One of the best sources of antioxidants is cocoa. Research studies have shown that dark chocolate many organic compounds that function as antioxidants. Some of these include polyphenols, flavanols, and catechins.
2 Helps to lower blood pressure
People with high blood pressure should stay away from sweet chocolates. However, they are free to consume bitter-tasting dark chocolates.
This is because dark chocolates contain flavanols, which stimulates the lining in the arteries and makes it dilate or relax.
Relaxed arteries mean the blood can flow through it with ease, thus reducing the blood pressure.
However, this effect can be very minimal so do not expect any significant changes in your blood pressure after consuming dark chocolate.
But, its good to know its a safe and healthy snack for people with hypertension.
3 Increases the levels of good cholesterol
Normally, our body has two types of cholesterol. HDL or high-density lipoprotein and LDL or low-density lipoprotein.
HDL is considered as good cholesterol, while LDL is the bad type.
Higher levels of LDL in your body can increase your risk of cardiovascular diseases, and heart attack. Health experts believe LDL when it gets oxidized can severely damage the arteries.
However, higher levels of HDL helps to protect your heart and improves its health.
Scientific studies have shown that cocoa consumption significantly reduced the levels of oxidized LDL, and not just that it has also increased the levels of HDL in men with high cholesterol.
It makes sense because cocoa is a rich source of compounds that acts as antioxidants, thus reducing the effects of free radicals, it reduces the levels of LDL that goes through oxidation.
4 Reduces the risk of Type-2 diabetes
When you consume carbs and foods rich in sugar, it immediately spikes up your glucose levels in your blood. To reduce this spike, pancreas secrets a peptide hormone called insulin, which transports the glucose in the blood to body cells.
However, it so happens over the period your body cells can become resistant to insulin, and when insulin becomes less capable of transferring all those excess blood glucose, the pancreas tries to compensate it by secreting even more insulin making the condition worse.
When you develop insulin resistance, you will increase the chances of developing type-2 diabetes.
Good news is, studies have shown that regular consumption of dark chocolates can help to reduce insulin resistance, and thereby reducing the risk of diabetes and heart diseases related to it.
5 May reduce the risk of heart attacks
Antioxidants present in dark chocolates effectively reduces the levels of oxidized LDL in your body.
When dark chocolates are consumed regularly over a longer time period could help to improve the condition of arteries, resulting in improved heart health, and reduced risk of heart attacks.
A study which involved 470 men showed that those who ate dark chocolates two or more times a week reduced the risk of pacification of arteries by nearly 32 percent. While people who ate sweet chocolates had no effect.
One thing to keep in mind is these studies are just observational in nature, so it cannot be called 100 percent conclusive.
However, we know the biological process through which dark chocolates or the compounds present in it helps to lower the blood pressure and oxidized LDL levels. So, it is highly likely that regular and moderate consumption of dark chocolates can have a positive impact on heart health.
6 May reduce skin damage
Dark chocolates are rich in bioactive compounds which are believed to improve your skin health.
It is also a great source of flavanols that helps to protect the skin against sun damage. Flavanols increase the blood flow to the skin and help to keep it healthy and well hydrated.
7 May improve brain function
Flavanols in dark chocolates are believed to improve brain function as well.
One study found that people who regularly consumed dark chocolates for five days daily increased the blood flow to their brain.
Researchers believe that cocoa can significantly improve the cognitive function in elderly people with mental impairment.
Apart from flavonols, cocoa is also a rich source of caffeine, and theobromine, which could have a positive impact on brain health as well.