Chocolates. People are in love with chocolates. It goes without saying chocolates have played a huge role when it comes to socializing, romance, comfort, and the occasional sweet cravings. However, too many chocolates contain too many other ingredients, many of which aren’t exactly looking out for your heart health.
Good thing dark chocolate exists, and this National Dark Chocolate Day, we’ll share why dark chocolate is the perfect chocolate not just for your sweet tooth, but for your heart health too.
The 5 Reasons Why Eating Dark Chocolate is Good For You
One of the many reasons why water is the healthiest beverage is because it’s pure, and the same reason can apply to dark chocolate.
You see, we have three chocolate types: Milk Chocolate, White Chocolate, and Dark Chocolate. Out of these three, dark chocolate has the most amount of cocoa mass (aka the actual chocolate). This is the exact ingredient you want if you’re after the health benefits. This also means it’s the dark chocolate with the least amount of sugar and other additives.
Depending on where it is sold, dark chocolate can contain anywhere from 35% to 95% cacao per serving. Naturally, the higher cacao concentrations, the more bitter tasting it becomes. So, only eat the dark chocolate your taste buds will love. What matters is it’s dark chocolate!
Why is cacao healthy for the heart? Because of its high antioxidant content. Researchers have cited cacao beans as one of the highest sources of antioxidants. These are your polyphenols, catechins, flavanols, and other compounds known to help boost heart health and other health benefits.
Some reports suggest cacao and dark chocolate have more antioxidant activity than fruits like acai berries and blueberries, so you know just how potent dark chocolate can get.
The role of antioxidants is to simply reduce oxidation all over the body. This is critical because oxidation can turn an otherwise neutral cell or tissue into something that can harm the body. For the heart, LDL particles that undergo oxidation will turn into “bad cholesterol” and can lead to damaged arteries.
Dark chocolate contains the least amount of sugar and milk, so you can argue that a serving of dark chocolate contains fewer calories than its milk and white counterpart. This means you will be getting your fill of chocolate minus the extra energy which would have turned into stored fat. Better weight management is also linked to a healthy heart.
Also, dark chocolates often have high percentages of cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is actually considered a healthy fat. Being fat, cocoa butter is satiating. This means consuming dark chocolate may help with appetite suppression.
Of course, it doesn’t mean you should just eat dark chocolates. They are filling, but they’re not the best source of basic nutrients like fruits, vegetables, and meat. However, what you can do is eat a portion or two before a main meal (yes, eat dessert first!), and see how fast your belly feels full.
Okay, just because dark chocolate isn’t known to be as healthy as broccoli or salmon doesn’t mean it’s without any nutritive value. In fact, it’s not that bad when it comes to mineral content.
Typical dark chocolate contains:
But, again. Dark chocolate should not be the primary source of these nutrients. At best, dark chocolate should only serve to “fill in the blanks,” left by primary foods.
Dark chocolate has a lot of flavonols, and these compounds can help improve blood circulation to the brain. More blood flow to the brain can improve cognition and nutrient uptake, which can lead to overall brain health, as well as better mood and memory.
Dark Chocolate isn’t just chocolates “adults” eat. It’s actually quite a healthy food if consumed in moderate amounts. It can help with weight management, brain function, and heart health, making it more than just a simple dessert after a hearty meal.
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