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Dark chocolate: 10 wonderful benefits of relishing dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is rich in minerals, such as iron, magnesium, and zinc. it can have various health benefits, including reducing inflammation and decreasing the risk of heart disease.

Dark chocolate benefits: Chocolate comes from cacao, a plant with high levels of minerals and antioxidants. Commercial milk chocolate contains cocoa butter, sugar, milk, and small quantities of cacao. In contrast, dark chocolate has much larger amounts of cacao and less sugar than milk chocolate.

In this article, we explore some of the potential health benefits of dark chocolate. We also cover nutritional information, risks and considerations, and how much to eat.

Dark chocolate Benefits
Dark chocolate Benefits

Nutritional information

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a 101-gram (g) bar of dark chocolate with 70–85% cocoa solids provides:

  • 604 calories
  • 7.87 g of protein
  • 43.06 g of fat
  • 46.36 g of carbohydrates
  • 11.00 g of dietary fiber
  • 24.23 g of sugar
  • 12.02 milligrams (mg) of iron
  • 230.00 mg of magnesium
  • 3.34 mg of zinc

Dark chocolate health benefits

1. Antioxidant properties: Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, particularly flavonoids and polyphenols. Antioxidants help combat oxidative stress in the body, which is linked to various chronic diseases and aging.

2. Heart health: Dark chocolate can help improve blood flow. Flavanols in dark chocolate may stimulate the production of nitric oxide, which helps relax blood vessels, leading to improved blood flow and reduced blood pressure. It can also help lower risk of heart disease. Some studies suggest that regular consumption of dark chocolate may be associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

3. Mood enhancement: Dark chocolate contains compounds that can trigger the release of endorphins in the brain, which are natural mood lifters. It may also stimulate the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of well-being.

4. Brain function: Flavanols in dark chocolate have been linked to improved cognitive function and may have protective effects on the brain. Some studies suggest that regular consumption of cocoa may enhance memory and learning abilities.

5. Blood sugar regulation: Dark chocolate has a lower glycaemic index compared to milk chocolate, meaning it has a slower impact on blood sugar levels.

6. Mineral content: Magnesium and copper play an important role in various bodily functions, including muscle and nerve function.

7. Skin health: The antioxidants in dark chocolate may help protect the skin from UV damage. Improved blood flow can contribute to a healthy complexion.

8. Cough relief: Dark chocolate contains theobromine, which may have cough-suppressant properties.

9. Stress reduction: Some studies suggest that dark chocolate may help regulate stress hormones, potentially reducing the impact of stress.

10. Dark chocolate and pregnancy: Consuming dark chocolate in moderation during pregnancy is generally considered safe and may even have some potential benefits due to its nutritional content. However, it’s crucial to be mindful of certain considerations during pregnancy.

Why overconsuming dark chocolates can be troublesome

While dark chocolate has several potential health benefits, it’s important to be aware of certain disadvantages, especially when consumed in excess.

“Dark chocolate is calorie-dense and consuming it in large quantities can contribute to an excess of calories, potentially leading to weight gain. Some commercially available dark chocolates may contain added sugars to enhance flavour. Excessive sugar intake can contribute to various health issues, including weight gain, diabetes, and dental problems. Dark chocolate contains caffeine, albeit in smaller amounts compared to coffee. Excessive caffeine intake can lead to insomnia, increased heart rate, and other side effects. Pregnant individuals and those sensitive to caffeine should monitor their intake. The sugar content in chocolate can contribute to the development of cavities if oral hygiene is not maintained. It’s important to brush and floss regularly, especially after consuming sweets,” says Abhilasha V.



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