Cacao pods are the source of chocolate. Seeds, commonly known as beans, are taken from the pod then fermented, dried, and roasted to make the cacao bean. The cocoa nibs are processed into the product we love, “chocolate”, once the shells are removed.
The discovery that cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate, contains biologically active phenolic chemicals. People’s perceptions of chocolate have shifted, and study into how it affects aging and disorders including oxidative stress, blood pressure management, and atherosclerosis has sparked.
10 Interesting Health Benefits of Chocolate
The Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke may be Reduced
Chocolate flavonoids have been shown in numerous studies to help keep your veins and arteries fluid. Throughout seven research, 114,000 people were given a few servings of dark chocolate every week. When they ate more chocolate, their odds of having a heart attack were decreased by 37%, and their risks of having a stroke were decreased by 29%, according to the findings.
Participants in the study who ate dark chocolate had a lower risk of heart disease. The benefit is assumed to be the prevention of hardened plaque in the arteries. Cocoa may be much more helpful, and cocoa-containing items were recommended over dark chocolate.
Better Cognitive Function
Drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day, according to Harvard Medical School researchers, could help maintain brain health and decrease memory loss in older adults. The researchers discovered that drinking hot chocolate improved blood flow to areas of the brain that needed it.
Research has also shown that according to studies, when old persons were given specially produced cocoa extracts high in flavanols, their cognitive performance improved dramatically. The only difficulty is that due to the processing and addition of eggs, sugar, and milk to chocolate, the amount of those cocoa flavanols is greatly reduced.
Helps Uplift Moods
Chocolate contains valeric acid, a stress reliever. Furthermore, chocolate stimulates the creation of serotonin, a neurotransmitter with relaxing properties. The cocoa polyphenols were examined and targeted by the University of Swinburne in Australia, and it was discovered that it had a positive influence on the mood of the individuals, who were calmer and happier. Endorphins are important in the prevention of depression and other mental illnesses and the flavonoids enhance this endorphin production.
Helps Prevent Sunburns
According to a study conducted in London, women who were given chocolate with a high flavanol content could resist twice as much UV light on their skin without burning as those who were given lesser dosages.
Offers Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Flavonoids, particularly epicatechin, a flavonoid contained in cocoa, have anti-inflammatory characteristics that help to prevent chronic inflammation, which can contribute to illnesses such as cardiovascular disease.
Helps in Keeping Diabetes in Check
According to a tiny study conducted at the University of L’Aquila in Italy, the appropriate number of cocoa flavonoids can aid the body’s metabolism and insulin function. This could be beneficial to diabetics, but additional research is needed.
Boosts your Physical Performance
Epicatechin is flavanol that has magical properties. Mice who were fed this chemical were significantly fitter and stronger than mice that were merely given water. According to studies, you should only eat around half of a piece of chocolate every day to achieve the maximum results from your workout! If you consume too much, the positive effects may be negated.
It is Quite Nutritious
A 100-gram chocolate bar contains nearly all of your copper and manganese RDA. It provides more than half of your magnesium RDA and nearly two-thirds (67%) of your iron RDA. It also contains around 10% fiber. Zinc, selenium, and potassium are also abundant.
Helps Regulate Blood Pressure
Your arteries can relax if you have the correct amount of NO (Nitric Oxide) in your body. This will relieve some of the pressure on them, resulting in a lower blood pressure reading. Another advantage of dark chocolate flavanols, which aid in the production of this critical Nitric Oxide.
Might help Reduce the Chances of Pregnancy Complications
Preeclampsia is a type of pregnancy condition in which blood pressure rises rapidly. Researchers have discovered that theobromine, one of the compounds found in dark chocolate, can stimulate the heart and help arteries dilate. Higher dosages of it were given to pregnant women who had a 40% lower risk of getting this problem.
Light, or milk, chocolate manufacturers argue that their product is healthier because it contains milk, which contains protein and calcium. Dark chocolate proponents refer to the product’s increased iron content and antioxidant values. The higher the concentration of cocoa in the chocolate, the higher the level of antioxidants in the bar. However, the nutrients in commercially available chocolate bars vary greatly depending on the brand and type.
If you want to be certain about the nutrients, check the label. Unsweetened chocolates and goods made entirely of cocoa powder can be found online and in select grocery and health food stores. But just like any other food item Extremes are always advised against.
So, the next time you purchase a bar of chocolate, be mindful to read the nutrition facts and consume the chocolate in moderation.