It is tempting. It is yummy. It is chocolate. But, do you actually know that it can do a world of good for our health? For many milk chocolates, are almost impossible to resist, while there are others who have an acquired taste of dark chocolate and prefer it more over the sweet taste of milk chocolates. Whichever category you may fall into, it is a proven fact and you all will be glad to know that dark chocolates are actually very good for human health.
Chocolates are perhaps the most consumed food in the whole planet. It comes from a plant source and plant foods are the ones always recommended by experts. Chocolate comes from the cocoa tree, and these tress originated in the Amazon forests. The seeds of the plant, which is also its fruit are grinded and made into cocoa powder and dark chocolate.
There are numerous health benefits associated with the moderate consumption of dark chocolates, and some of it are:
- It is great against cardiac risks and other cardiovascular diseases
The positive effects of dark chocolate are so many that experts often get confused whether to refer it as a drug or a food. It helps increase the flow of blood by dilating or broadening of the blood vessels. And which in turn considerably reduces any threats on our cardiovascular system. It also is responsible for reducing inflammation on the linings of our arteries and blood vessels, thereby, reducing any chances or risks of cardiac attacks and even strokes.
- Chocolates are rich sources of antioxidants
All naturally processed dark chocolates are excellent source of flavonoids – a type of polyphenol present in plants and have antioxidant properties. The flavonoids in dark chocolate is known by the name of epicatechins, which not only reduces the threat of cancers and cardiac issues, but are also effective against free radicals that harm us in a big way.
It is a fact that a cup of hot cocoa has more antioxidants than what is in wine or a cup of green tea and releases more of it when hot than cold.
- It is good for diabetics
Contrary to what we believe, dark chocolate is good for people with diabetes. It helps in glucose balance, reduces inflammation and improves conditions of insulin sensitivity. All of it work towards controlling and stabilizing blood sugar levels in the body and thereby, helps control conditions in type 2 diabetes. The flavonoids in cocoa have the ability to positively modulate and stabilise the system.
- It is great for weight loss
If you are looking to lose some weight, dark chocolate is a great aid. They are power packed with monounsaturated fatty acids, also known as MUAs, which are known for its properties to improve metabolism and burn fat. Moreover, dark chocolates have great satiety value, which helps us in keeping full and satisfied for a longer time and thereby preventing food cravings for fatty, sweet and salty foods.
- Propels good mood
Palmitic and stearic acid, the two healthy saturated fatty acids in dark chocolate are known to boost mood and makes us feel happy. Consumption of dark chocolate has been associated with improved blood flow to the brain and improved oxygen levels along with nerve activity. Studies reveal that chocolate helps elderly people with mental impairments. The flavonoids of cocoa has positive effects on mental stress and helps relieving it. Dark chocolate also contains certain stimulants like theobromine and caffeine.
Though by now you have understood that consuming dark chocolates have many health benefits, and especially for our heart health, consuming too much can negate all its positive effects. Moderation has to be administered, and too much consumption is not at all good for people with diabetes, obesity and cardiac issues. And remember, we are talking about dark chocolate and not the processed and sweetened milk chocolates that are loaded with tons of sugar.
By: Dt. Ashu Gupta