Fifteen Amazing benefits of Dark Chocolate
Reduces Heart Risks
Consuming chocolate reduces cardiovascularrisks by one-third. Stearic acid, in spite of being a saturated fatty acid found in cocoa, does not contribute to cholesterol levels and can reduce the possibility of heart attacks and atherosclerosis which is caused by inflammation of arteries. Cocoa is also known to reduce the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase the levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. The antioxidant properties of the flavonoids also protect the heart against damages inflicted by the free radicals.
Chocolate’s higher variant, dark chocolate is also known to suppress appetite. Consuming dark chocolate gives a feeling of being full which helps avoid overeating.
Maintains the Nervous System
A study suggests that epicatechin and flavonoids, compounds present in dark chocolate, may help protect the brain from strokes. These compounds are also found to be helpful in lowering the risk of nervous disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease as per a study.
Treats Cough & Cold
Cocoa, due to vitamin-C, alkaloids, and flavonoids present in it, gives relief from coughs and colds. The fatty acids such as stearic acid, palmitic acid, and oleic acid in it provide relief from a sore throat, continuous coughing and colds.
Dark and sugar-free chocolate (cocoa) is very bitter to taste due to the presence of alkaloids like caffeine and others. The bitterness of these alkaloids neutralizes the sugar in the blood. Moreover, being a stimulant in nature, they stimulate the secretion of bile and insulin, which again help to break down the sugar, resulting in lower blood sugar levels.
Cocoa contains caffeine which is an alkaloid, theobromine and phenylethylamine (an amine, particularly known to be anti-depressant) all of which are stimulant in nature. They are veryeffectivemood elevators andantidepressants.
Cocoa contains tryptophan, an amino acid which has relaxing effects. This has soothing and refreshing effects in cases of tension and stress.
Regulates Blood Pressure
Flavonoids in cocoa contain polyphenols like catechins, epicatechins, and procyanidins, which have been seen to increase nitric oxide levels in the blood, which helps in maintaining proper blood pressure. Nitric oxide helps to prevent thickening of the blood and maintaining fluidity, thereby decreasing pressure on the arteries and veins and finally regulating blood pressure.
On the other hand, in case of people suffering from low blood pressure, the stimulants like caffeine and theobromine, as well as the sugar present in chocolate, helps elevate blood pressure to correct levels.
Polyphenols like catechins, epicatechins, and procyanidins present in cocoa are very good antioxidants. They minimize the effects of free radicals and heal the damage already caused by these dangerous cellular byproducts.
Chocolate makes you more awake and alert, which indirectly also aids in increasing intelligence. Flavonoids boost the blood flow to the brain. A study says, feeding chocolate to your child during exams would increase your child’s math solving abilities.
Improves Energy Levels
Fatty acids like stearic acid and palmitic acid (both saturated) and oleic acid (unsaturated) help put on weight and give energy, without the risk of accumulating cholesterol, as far as pure cocoa is concerned. When cocoa is made into chocolate, the amount of cholesterol you get depends on the type of milk (toned, semi-toned or full cream) and milk products (butter, milk solids) used in it and the exercises you do. The sugar in chocolate also gives energy and relaxes the body.
Acts as a Prebiotic
The presence of flavonoids increases skin density and thickness. It also helps to reduce the effect of UV rays on the skin, thus, protecting you from sunburn. Chocolate also guarantees a well-hydrated healthy skin, which doubles up as an anti-aging formula.
Cocoa, due to its alkaloids, has been traditionally used against diarrhea. A study confirms this benefit as it found that the flavonoids in the cocoa bind to a protein that regulates the fluid secretion in the intestine, ultimately regularizing the bowel movement.