There are many reasons to eat more dark chocolate, and while the first one is it being tasty, you’d be surprised how much it can affect your body. Here are some of the dark chocolate facts you need to know and some of the most important health benefits you will notice.
How Is Dark Chocolate Different From Other Chocolates?
You are probably aware that there are many different types of chocolate. And before we go in-depth about why dark chocolate is something you should eat, let’s take a look at what are the most important differences between dark chocolate and other types.
Generally speaking, there are three different types of chocolate: dark, white, and milk. White chocolate is made from cocoa, butter, milk solids, and sugar. Sometimes, it can have vanilla as well. What is different here is that white chocolate doesn’t have cocoa solids, which is something all other types have.
Milk chocolate, as the name suggests, is made with milk. Usually, it is either liquid milk or milk powder. As mentioned earlier, these chocolates also contain cocoa solids. And all of this leads us to dark chocolate. The main difference between dark and other types is quite simple: dark chocolate is made with cocoa solids, but it doesn’t contain milk. In addition, this type also has a higher percentage of cocoa solids.
Reduction of Heart Attack Risks
One of the first dark chocolate benefits you should know is it can have a positive effect on your heart. Several studies show that people who eat higher amounts of dark chocolate will lower the chances of developing heart disease or having a stroke. Furthermore, one of the studies claims that people who eat dark chocolate five times per week will lower the chances by fifty-seven percent.
Now, the question of why this is the case is a bit tricky to answer. One theory is that flavonoids help reduce the risk since these chemicals help the body produce nitric oxide. As a result, it can help relax blood vessels, improve blood flow, and regulate high blood pressure. Now, no one is saying that dark chocolate is the only thing you should eat. The key is still in moderation, and we will go through all the details in a bit.
Another great benefit of dark chocolate is the positive effect it has on our bodies when it comes to treating inflammation. First, not every inflammation is bad. It often has a goal to protect the body. But for those that struggle with chronic inflammation, it is a condition that can lead to disease.
Stress is another thing that can worsen the problem, and who can be stressed when they have chocolate?! There are many different types of food that can have an anti-inflammatory effect, and dark chocolate is just one of them.
Chocolate is filled with antioxidants, and they do a great job of reducing inflammation. One of the components of this delicious treat is flavanol, as it has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. It also helps keep arteries healthy and improve vascular function.
The key here is to eat chocolate with high cocoa levels, and the dark version can have anything between fifty and ninety percent of cocoa. Now, you don’t need to go for the one with the highest level of cocoa, and anything over seventy percent will be more than enough.
There are several components of dark chocolate that can act as antioxidants. We already mentioned flavanols and the second important one is a polyphenol. What these components do is eliminate free radicals, allowing the body to prevent oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a term used to describe any type of damage to tissue and cells that these free radicals can inflict.
Oxidative stress is a natural part of ageing, and it can lead to numerous diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, various cardiovascular diseases, etc. Of course, no one is saying that dark chocolate is a miracle cure for everything. It won’t stop the ageing process, and it isn’t a cure for any of the diseases. However, what it does is reduce the chances of developing a condition. Needless to say, there are numerous other factors that will play an important role as well.
The next thing we should discuss is a cognitive response. There are numerous different positive effects on the brain from eating chocolate. We all know that the brain releases happy chemicals when eating this treat, and the feeling can be similar to euphoria. But this is just the start of the list.
It can also have a positive impact on the blood flow in the brain, improving memory, reaction time, attention span, and even problem-solving skills. Flavonoids from cocoa will activate the same regions in the brain in charge of learning and memory, and it is a tasty way to lower the risk of dementia.
One of the most appealing things is that the effect of chocolate can be noticed just a few hours after eating it. There are several studies suggesting that darker chocolate will improve cognitive functions. This includes learning, reasoning, thinking, decision making, attention, and problem-solving.
Once again, the key is in moderation. Eating a ton of chocolate won’t make you a super genius. But it will make you sick. There is no reason to overdo it. So, if you are looking to improve brain function, chocolate consumption is an excellent trick.
Less Developing Diabetes
The final thing on the list is diabetes, and dark chocolate can lower the chances of developing this disease. We already mentioned polyphenols and how they can act as an antioxidant. But what we didn’t mention is that they also improve insulin sensitivity. What this means is that this component will affect the way insulin works in the body.
As a result, it will allow your body to better control sugar levels lowering the risks in the long run. Unfortunately, the effects won’t be immediately noticeable, and they will start appearing in a couple of years. That doesn’t mean that you can buy any type of chocolate. The goal here is to find one with high levels of polyphenols, which are usually those with a higher percentage of cocoa.
The simplest way of knowing which chocolate to buy is to check the list of ingredients and see the percentage of cocoa. Furthermore, the process of making the chocolate will also have an impact on it. And processed ones will have fewer health benefits. So, always go for the unprocessed one.
What Should Be the Right Amount to Eat?
As we mentioned earlier, the key is to not overdo it. While it may seem incredible, dark chocolate is not a miracle cure for everything. In fact, consuming too much dark chocolate can have a negative effect on your body.
Cocoa contains caffeine, and eating too much can cause problems with sleeping, urination, increased heartbeat, nervousness, and so on. As for the right amount, you can eat dark chocolate a couple of times per week. The “right” amount is one or two ounces per day, and if you eat more than that, you might be consuming too many calories.