Dark chocolate is made up of cocoa, cocoa butter (obtained from cocoa beans), and sugar but much of dark chocolate contains cocoa giving this chocolate its darkish hue. The large amounts of cocoa used in dark chocolate are responsible for its health benefits. Let’s explore the health benefits of dark chocolate below.
Benefits of dark chocolate:
Lowers blood pressure and improves cardiovascular health
A 2017 review study published in Frontiers in nutrition associated cocoa consumption to reduced risk of blood pressure and improved vascular endothelial function. Dark chocolate also helped reduce systolic blood pressure and heart rate according to a 2016 Brazilian study.
Good source of flavonoids and antioxidants
Chocolate is a good source of flavanols like catechins, epicatechins and procyanidins. These flavonoids help in reducing oxidative damage along with antihypertensive and anti-inflammatory effects.
Regulates lipid levels
A 2004 study published in Elsevier claimed that dark chocolate increased HDL levels. Also in a research review published in 2011, it was seen that in 10 clinical trials consisting of 320 patients, dark chocolate significantly lowered LDL and total cholesterol levels.
Improves insulin sensitivity
According to a 2016 Chinese review study published in Pubmed, flavonoids improved insulin sensitivity by promoting the survival of pancreatic beta cells of insulin. A Spanish study published in 2017 also supported this claim and it was seen that cocoa slowed down glucose absorption.
Dark chocolate helps in improving of moods possibly due to a rush of dopamine that occurs during its consumption. It also releases serotonin, endorphins and alleviates anxiety levels.
Good for brain
Certain animal studies have shown cocoa to have neuroprotective properties probably because of the presence of flavonoids in them. It is also known to improve cognition.
Good source of certain nutrients
It is a good source of copper, magnesium, manganese, zinc. It also is a good source of caffeine. It is important to note though that it has moderate amount of sugar and can also contain good amount of calories and polyunsaturated fat. Hence it is better to be consumed in moderation.
Hence we can see from above that all that chocolate is not bad, but it is important to consume in moderation. Furthermore it is important to note that different dark chocolates may have different compositions of cocoa and other ingredients; the ones containing more cocoa is more beneficial.