There would be rarely anybody who wouldn’t be fond of chocolates. For some, it is an indulgence for a sweet tooth, while for some it provides emotional comfort. Chocolate is usually considered to be a villain but in reality, it is not. You just need to know which chocolate to have, at what time and most importantly how much.
There are three types of chocolates available in the market; dark, milk and white, and is categorized as per the percentage of cocoa powder and cocoa butter or fat present in it. The sweeter and the creamier the chocolate, the higher is the fat content.
What makes chocolate healthy is its antioxidant content as well as its magnesium levels. It is highest in the dark variant of chocolate.
Dark Chocolate aka black Chocolate is a form of chocolate containing cocoa solids, cocoa butter and sugar but no milk or milk solids. It has a bitter taste than a bar of milk chocolate due to a higher concentration of cocoa.
Following are a few benefits of dark chocolate:
- Source of antioxidants: It contains organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent free radicals in the body and this can help you prevent cancers.
- Improves blood flow: Studies have shown that cocoa improves the blood flow in the body and thereby helps in controlling your blood pressure levels normal.
- Improves good cholesterol: The polyphenols, flavonoids present in dark chocolate helps improve HDL (good cholesterol) and lowers the LDL (bad cholesterol) in the body. Thereby, reduces the risk for cardiovascular diseases.
- Protects skin from sun damage: Loaded with bioactive compounds, the flavonols present in dark chocolate improves blood flow and protect the skin against sun damage. So, dark chocolate can actually make your skin look brighter and shinier.
- Improves brain function: The capacity to improve blood flow and the presence of stimulants like caffeine and theobromine in dark chocolate helps improve brain function. Cocoa helps in cognitive development and mental impairments.
- Great for premenstrual syndrome: Dark chocolate works wonderfully well in controlling menstrual cramps and premenstrual mood swings as it helps to boost dopamine the happy hormone, also magnesium helps in relaxing the cramps.
But it is important to understand that not all dark chocolates are to be considered healthy, there are a lot of brands in the market that are selling 50% dark chocolate, ideally anything below 70% should not be considered as a dark chocolate, if you plan to consume dark chocolate always choose the one where the cocoa content is more than 70%. Also since chocolate is a commercial product one should know how to read the label and choose the best one. Always choose the one that has cocoa mass and not cocoa butter as the first ingredient.
Also, it is best to have it with your morning coffee or post workout. A small piece can be taken post meals to satisfy the sweet tooth. Try not to have more than 3 pieces of chocolate in a day.
Since dark chocolate is high in caffeine, those who are pregnant, lactating, suffer from anxiety, bleeding disorders, irregular heartbeat, glaucoma, IBS should avoid consuming dark chocolates.
So add a little bitter chocolate to your life and enjoy its sweet benefits.