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Top 10 Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Black chocolate and dark chocolate are both the same thing. Dark chocolate is made from roasted cocoa beans of the cocoa tree; but unlike milk chocolate, dark chocolate has no milk in it. It is also not very sweet in taste. The best quality of dark chocolate has a cocoa percentage that ranges from 70 to 99 percent and it has a bitter taste. Many people love dark chocolate because it feels decadent, is very yummy and tastes great. Most people enjoy chocolate as a piece of candy but you can also add it to smoothies, cakes and muffins that you make at home. Dark chocolate is very healthy and it tastes good too, but make sure that you choose wisely and eat it in moderation.

Dark chocolate is made from the seed of the cocoa tree and is enriched with antioxidants. Apart from antioxidants, there are many other healthy nutrients in dark chocolate such as soluble fiber, manganese, potassium, zinc, copper, selenium, iron and magnesium. Dark chocolate also comes with moderate amount of calories and a very limited amount of sugar in it but when eaten in a balanced way, dark chocolate can positively affect your health. According to different studies and researches, it has been proven that dark chocolate is beneficial for health. Here are some of the health benefits of dark chocolate:

1. Dark chocolate relieves Stress

If you are feeling stressed or are feeling down, then the best thing you can always rely on is dark chocolate as it helps increase the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin that works as a natural depression free agent.

According to a research done in Switzerland by the Nestle Research Center that has been published online in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Proteome Research, the chemical compounds present in dark chocolate play a vital and important role in improving the disposition of individuals who experience stress at very high levels. According to a research, eating 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate regularly for two weeks can help a lot in reducing stress hormones in people who usually feel stressed. Besides all this, dark chocolate has magnesium that helps fight severe stress, depression, irritability and all types of fatigue. If you are taking dark chocolate to fight stress, then make sure that it has some amount of cocoa.

2. Dark chocolate lowers Cholesterol Level

To reduce LDL (bad cholesterol) or low-density lipoprotein levels in the blood that can cause clotting in the veins and inner walls of the arteries, cocoa in dark chocolate is the best thing.

There are some powerful antioxidants present in dark chocolate that prevent oxidization of LDL. These antioxidants also lessen the chances of having heart attacks or strokes. Evidence from clinical studies shows that cocoa present in dark chocolate is very helpful in increasing the HDL or high-density lipoprotein that is known as good cholesterol. It is not clear whether this is due to the presence of flavnoids that are present in cocoa or bromine. Taking dark chocolate daily can lessen the chances of cardiac disease and many other ailments.

3. Dark chocolate Reduces Blood Pressure

Dark chocolate is very helpful as it prevents several ailments as also reduces high blood pressure. Flavanol is a flavonoid present in cocoa; flavanol is very helpful in lowering the levels of blood pressure and improving the flow of blood in the heart. Flavanol present in dark chocolate stimulates the endothelium that helps produce nitric oxide. If the blood pressure of the individual is low, then there is less chance of suffering from heart disease and other ailments like heart attacks, atherosclerosis and arterial fibrillation.

It can even lessen the chances of dementia, stroke and cognitive decline. It is good to eat a small piece of dark chocolate regularly if you want to lower your blood pressure. Just make sure that the dark chocolate you have chosen is 70 percent cocoa.

4. Dark chocolate Prevents Stroke

Eating dark chocolate regularly can even lessen the risks of having a heart stroke later in life; the reason behind this is the high level of flavonoids that are present in cocoa, a type of antioxidant. Flavonoids can prevent the blood from forming clots and blood stickiness, which in turn helps stave off heart strokes and attacks.

A research conducted at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute that studied more than 37,000 men between the age of 45 and 79 for about 10 years, found that people who ate about 2.2 ounces of dark or black chocolate per week had seventeen percent lower risk of having a heart attack as compared to those who don’t eat or eat in less amount. To improve circulation of blood to the brain and lessen the chances of heart ailments, eat a single bar of dark chocolate every week.

5. Dark chocolate boosts Brain Power

Dark chocolate also improves brain functioning and prevents blood from clotting. According to a research done at University of Nottingham, eating dark chocolate can boost the flow of blood in the brain for up to three hours. So it also helps improve short-term memory.

Dark chocolate contains a high amount of flavanol which helps improve brain function and helps fight sleep deprivation. Dark chocolate also slows the effects of aging by increasing blood circulation.

Cocoa present in dark chocolate improves the response time, memory recall and concentration.

6. Aids in Weight Loss

If you want to lose some extra weight, then eating one ounce of dark chocolate with seventy and eight five percent cocoa three times a week can work for you as dark chocolate is rich in fiber and keeps you feeling full for a longer time. According to research done at the University of Copenhagen, eating black chocolate in a limited amount provides a more filling effect and lessens your cravings for sweet, salty and fatty foods. As dark chocolate in enriched with antioxidants, it can slow down the process of digestion so you can feel full for a longer period of time and eat less at your next meal which also helps control weight. It can even revive your metabolism to burn more fat and calories.

7. Dark chocolate Keeps Skin Healthy

A balanced amount of dark chocolate in your daily diet can also help keep your skin glowing, healthy and flawless. There are many antioxidants in black or dark chocolate that protect the skin from free radical damage. These damages are oxidative for the cells because they have the ability to speed up the anti-aging process. Flavonoids present in dark chocolate or black chocolate protect the skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Besides this, cocoa extract present in dark chocolate helps fight against the roughness of the skin and scaling. It also improves complexion and skin texture.

8. Dark chocolate Heals Persistent Coughing

If you have flu or cough and you want an easy solution to treat it, then try dark chocolate as it contains a chemical called theobromine that helps deal with cough and relaxing.

Researchers at the British National Health Service gave theobromine twice daily for 17 days to three hundred patients hospitalized for chronic cough and they found that sixty percent of individuals got cured from it. Another research done at Imperial College in London also had the same finding as British National Health Service.

Dark chocolate has no side effects and by taking it daily, the cardiovascular and central nervous systems were not affected. Dark chocolate is not like medicines that are recommended by doctors which make you dizzy. Dark chocolate will not make you feel drowsy all the time. So if you feel like having a flu or cough, try dark chocolate instead of taking heavy medicines.

9. Dark chocolate Treats Diarrhea

According to a research done at the Children’s Hospital & Research Institute in Oakland, it has been confirmed that dark chocolate can help in treating diarrhea. Dark chocolate provides you with the quickest relief if you are having symptoms of diarrhea.

So whenever the next time you are having symptoms of diarrhea, eat some dark chocolate with high cocoa content as it contains flavonoids and the more flavonoids dark chocolate contains, the faster the remedy will work.

10. Dark chocolate Controls Blood Sugar

The cocoa in dark chocolate is very helpful as it can also help prevent diabetes. A small Italian study done in 2005 found out that taking dark chocolate regularly increases the insulin sensitivity and also reduces the risk of having diabetes.

Flavonoids present in black or dark chocolate increase the production of nitric oxide that help in reducing insulin resistance and also have the effects of insulin. Dark chocolate also helps control the levels of blood sugar in diabetic people. However, diabetic patients should take sugar-free dark chocolate that is available easily in the market.

Apart from all the health benefits provided by dark chocolate, always make sure that you do not consume lots of it every day as black chocolate is still enriched with calories which can have bad effects on your health. When it comes to dark chocolate, then taking a balanced amount of it recommended. Before buying dark chocolate, you should know that you need to eat high quality and organic dark chocolate that contains seventeen percent or higher amount of cocoa.