What is dark chocolate?
As you probably already know it, there are several types of chocolate. However, most people divide chocolate into three categories: white chocolate, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate. The consensus for dark chocolate is that it typically contains between 70 to 99 percent pure cocoa.
In the beginning, all chocolate starts as harvested cacao beans from the plant’s seed pods. They are later fermented and dried before being sent off to factories for further production.
Pure cacao and pure cocoa powder are both very nutritious. However, raw cacao powder is better, as it hasn’t undergone any heating process. While the cocoa powder is heated at high temperatures, raw cacao powder is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans to retain more of its natural goodness.
What to buy?
We recommend buying dark chocolate of at least 70% cacao, as it is the type of chocolate to contain the most antioxidants and the least amount of sugar — the greater the percentage of cocoa, the greater the health benefits of dark chocolate.
Here is a list of 6 health benefits dark chocolate has to offer :
1- It is packed in antioxidants :
Dark chocolate contains very high amounts of potent antioxidants. Antioxidants prohibit free radicals ( nasty chemicals that we take in from breathing oxygen) from damaging your body. It’s filled with polyphenols, flavonols, and catechins. Countless studies have shown that chocolate’s antioxidants were extremely effective at reducing free radicals in vivo. While they may behave differently in the body, some other studies also prove that chocolate is just as effective in vitro.
– It improves heart health :
Dark chocolate was found to be packed in flavonols. Research has found that those compounds have a very positive effect on heart health by helping lower blood pressure and improving blood flow to the heart and the brain.
Dark chocolate also contains a high amount of oleic acid, a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat also found in olive oil, said to be beneficial for reducing high blood cholesterol levels.
3- It can improve brain function :
Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids that can have effects on your body composition. Studies have shown that chocolate promotes a better cognitive function by increasing blood flow to your brain. Eating a piece of dark chocolate every day could boost your memory, attention span, and problem-solving abilities.
4- It can help lower cholesterol :
Thanks to the polyphenols found in dark chocolate, research has proven that the consumption of cocoa can help reduce levels of LDL, known as bad cholesterol, and raise levels of HDL ( good cholesterol), thus lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Dark chocolate has also been found to lower blood pressure levels.
5- It is excellent for weight loss :
Studies have found that dark chocolate had a great metabolic effect. Eating a piece of chocolate before and after lunch and dinner could cut your appetite up to 50 percent.
Dark chocolate contains healthy fats, which are known to slow down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, thus, preventing an insulin spike.
We don’t recommend you to binge in chocolate to lose weight. However, if used right, it can be an effective weight-loss tool.
Including dark chocolate in your lifestyle is a smart, safe step to take towards a healthier life. However, to make the most out of dark chocolate’s health benefits, make sure that the brand you’re buying is organic.