7 Health Effects Of Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate has become fashionable in recent years, not only because of its taste, but because it is said to help improve mood and increase energy level. 

On the other hand, there are those who believe that the consumption of chocolate is bad because it can promote obesity or increase cholesterol due to its fat and sugar content. However, as long as its consumption is moderate, dark chocolate has positive effects on health.

If you are one of those who cannot resist a piece of good chocolate, here are 7 possible benefits that you could be enjoying without knowing it. Discover them!

Health effects of dark chocolate

One of the benefits of chocolate, in general, is its ability to increase energy levels. Although it should be consumed in moderate portions so as not to exceed the recommended calories, a small portion is enough to obtain this effect.

Although there are several types of chocolate on the market, black is the most popular in the health food category. Here we explain why.

1. Contains antioxidants

Dark chocolate is a food that contains antioxidants, such as polyphenols, flavonoids, catechins, among others. These are very important, as they help the body to inhibit free radicals, which cause oxidative damage to cells.

Thanks to this, chocolate has been recommended as an adjuvant to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, lower cholesterol levels and improve the symptoms of hypertension, according to what is suggested in this study carried out by the Institute of Food Science and Technology and Nutrition (ICTAN) of the CSIC (Spain). 

Chocolate with antioxidants

2. Contributes to heart health

As the previous study suggests, chocolate may help prevent certain cardiovascular problems. One third of the fat in cocoa butter that chocolate is made of contains stearic acid, which is converted by the liver into oleic acid, a healthy monounsaturated fat.

For its part, oleic acid is a compound that helps reduce bad cholesterol levels, while increasing good cholesterol levels. A Harvard publication , School of Public Heatlh comments that various studies suggest that:

3. It’s good for the brain

Information obtained from research conducted by the University of Navarra (Spain) suggests that the consumption of dark chocolate contributes to stimulating blood flow to the brain and towards the heart, which could help improve cognitive functions.

This benefit is attributed to its content of theobromine, a natural stimulant, not as strong as caffeine, but with interesting therapeutic effects. For its part, a study published in Psychopharmacology explains that dark chocolate contains around 25–35 mg of caffeine.

Caffeine is another stimulant that, in moderate doses, could increase alertness and improve attention and psychomotor performance. Finally, it also contains phenylethylamine, responsible for releasing endorphins in the brain, which generates a feeling of well-being.

4. Helps skin health

According to research published in The Journal of Nutrition , dark chocolate, being rich in antioxidants, can also help promote healthier and more hydrated skin. It even appears to have a beneficial effect in preventing the harmful effects of the sun.

For its part, cocoa promotes good blood circulation in the fine capillaries in the upper layer of the skin. These are responsible for oxygenating and delivering the essential nutrients that the skin needs to protect itself from dehydration and sunburn.

Helps skin health

5. It is good for the teeth

Unlike many other sweets, dark chocolate, accompanied by good daily hygiene and in moderate doses, could contribute to dental health.  Indeed, it contains a substance called theobromine which, according to this study carried out by the University of Guayaquil,  is recommended for hardening tooth enamel.

6. Has essential nutrients

Dark chocolate contains essential minerals that help promote good health throughout the body. Information published in Scientific Electronic Library Online , highlights that this type of chocolate is a food with an interesting nutritional composition that includes the following:

  • Fat (30%).
  • Proteins (6%).
  • Carbohydrates (61%).
  • Phosphorus, calcium and iron (3%).
  • Vitamins A and B.

7. Helps against fatigue

A study by The Nutrition Journal revealed that chocolate could help combat the symptoms of fatigue. Research indicates that its consumption helps improve the action of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, responsible for regulating mood and sleep.

For this study, people with this condition consumed 1-1 / 2 ounces of dark chocolate with 85% cocoa, every day for 8 weeks. The result was a less tired feeling after consuming the chocolate.

Helps against chronic fatigue

Does eating dark chocolate improve health?

Dark chocolate is credited with some benefits, but it is not a “super powerful” food or the like. Simply included as part of a healthy and varied diet can contribute to health.

In any case, its consumption should also be complemented with good habits such as exercise and a healthy diet. Remember that in case of illnesses, it is important to go directly to the doctor. No food will be curative.

Finally, it is important to know how to choose a good chocolate. Options composed of more than 60% cocoa are the most recommended. As far as possible, avoid those that contain a lot of sugar. Keep that in mind!

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