8 Health Benefits of Dark Chocolates

Chocolate The creamy texture and rich, robust flavor makes your mouth water at the very mention of the name.  If this is true, you must be a certified lover of chocolate who can devour a number of bars at once.  Today, varied problems such as diabetes, pimples, and weight gain render it a guilty pleasure rather than a sweet indulgence.  Nowadays, the only word you associate with chocolates is “ABSTAIN”.

Fear not, we have some good news for you. Recent studies state that chocolate, the dark variety, has several health benefits.  Listed here are 8 reasons that make nibbling on dark chocolate a healthy option.

How is Chocolate Made?

Chocolate is made from cocoa beans.  These are the seeds of the Cacao tree native to the tropical rainforests of South America. After they are picked, the seeds are crushed and fermented for a week. Following the fermentation process, the seeds are sun dried and then subjected to huge revolving drums that operate at a temperature of more than 350 degrees centigrade. The first derivative is cocoa butter. After the extraction of the cocoa butter, the seeds or beans are crushed and ground to get a smooth paste called Chocolate liquor.

Different substances are added to chocolate liquor to create different varieties of chocolate; namely dark, white and milk chocolate. Sugar and cocoa butter is added to chocolate liquor to make dark chocolate. Milk chocolate has milk solids in addition to sugar and cocoa butter. Dark chocolate has the highest proportion of cacao and hence is the most beneficial.

8 Benefits of Dark Chocolates

1. Health of Your Heart

Dark chocolate promotes cardiovascular health. It is a rich source of the antioxidant Flavonoids. The proportion of antioxidants present in dark chocolates is 5 times higher than that of strawberries.

Antioxidants inhibit the action of free radicals and protect the cells and organs from damage caused by them. Oleic acid present in dark chocolate also reduces the amount of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) in the blood. Flavonoids also stimulate the synthesis of nitric oxide. This compound relaxes the arteries and enables smooth flow of blood. Thus, it averts the condition of clogged arteries. Through the action of Flavonoids, dark chocolates reduce the risk of heart failure.

2. Regulates Blood Pressure

Individuals suffering minor fluctuations in blood pressure can eat dark chocolate to keep pressure levels in check. By regulating blood pressure, it helps reduce the risk of strokes. However, dark chocolate should not replace blood pressure medications.

3. Regulates Blood Sugar

Dark Chocolate is good for diabetics. In comparison to sweets and candies, dark chocolate has a low glycemic index. A low glycemic index means slower release of sugar into the blood stream. Thus, it prevents a sudden spike in blood sugar levels. The production of nitric oxide initiated by Flavonoids also improves insulin sensitivity.

4. Improves Brain Function

Several research studies have proved that dark chocolate helped improve cognitive function. Dark chocolate enhances blood circulation throughout the body including the heart and the brain.  As a result, it improves concentration and makes one more alert.  It also improves brain performance, with better recall and recognition. Compounds in dark chocolate release the brain chemical Dopamine, which helps recall events and people.

5. Stabilizes Mood

If you’re feeling low, remember to munch on dark chocolate because it elevates your mood.  Dark chocolate contains a chemical substance called Phenyl ethylamine (PEA).  This is the chemical released by the brain when you fall head over heels in love. PEA further stimulates the secretion of endorphins and endorphins contain Serotonin.  Serotonin, a known mood stabilizer, is known as the happy hormone.

6. Protects the Skin from UV Rays

The high concentration of antioxidants help protect the skin from UV rays.  The skin of people who ate dark chocolate showed fewer signs of damage such as reddening and sunburn when exposed to the sun.

7. Delayed Aging

Antioxidants increase blood flow to the skin and therefore improve skin complexion. By preventing oxidative action of the free radicals, it delays aging and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

8. Helps Fight Cancer

Dark chocolate is considered one of the best cancer-fighting foods.  This variety of dark chocolate reduces inflammation and prevents further cell division.

The article was written by Megan Hubler, who is a chocolate lover and regular buyer of wholesale callebaut chocolate for her family