Not everyone is aware that chocolate can also be healthy. But remember that it should be dark. For centuries, chocolate has been known to have potential health hazards and has always been criticized due to its high fat content. But the truth is that dark chocolate provides numerous benefits to health. Evidence suggests that the active compounds in cocoa could contribute to the prevention and treatment of various health conditions such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, atherosclerosis, and many more.
Dark chocolate is healthy, but eating a box full of chocolate every day is not healthy. Consumption of moderate quantities of dark chocolate is beneficial.
Chocolate is of many types and commonly comes in dark, milk, and white varieties, depending on the proportion of cocoa in it. Dark chocolate contains a large proportion of cocoa. Cocoa is highly nutritious and one of the richest source of energy, protein, magnesium, calcium, iron, and many important vitamins.
Dark chocolate contains many active components including catechins, procyanidins, and theobromine that are primarily responsible for a positive impact on the health of an individual. Dark chocolate is also rich in flavonoids which are associated with reduced risk of developing various health problems.
Some of the health benefits of dark chocolate are as follows:
Diabetes mellitus is a disease which occurs when the glucose level in the body becomes too high than the normal level. It is also known as hyperglycemia. Diabetes mellitus occurs due to impaired insulin production, impaired insulin action (also known as insulin resistance), or both. Diabetes mellitus is a serious disorder, associated with many complications such as blurred vision and heart attack.
Multiple studies has been conducted to investigate if dark chocolate beneficial for patients having diabetes or how dark chocolate reduces the risk of developing diabetes mellitus. Studies revealed that dark chocolate works by improving insulin sensitivity in the body, resulting in decreased glucose level in the blood. Insulin is the regulator of glucose in the bloodstream.
It was observed that flavonoids, an active compound in dark chocolate have proved to ameliorate the hallmark symptoms of diabetes. Cocoa flavonoids improve glucose homeostasis by lowering the digestion of carbohydrates and its absorption in the gut. Also, polyphenols present in cocoa protects the pancreatic cells against damaging factors and enhances the activity of insulin in the body.
Cardiovascular disease refers to all the diseases that are related to the heart. The prevalence of heart disease is extremely high among people across the world. Evidence suggests that certain modifiable lifestyle factors such as exercise and diet can significantly reduce the risk of heart problems.
Heart disease has become one of the leading causes of disability and deaths. Due to the high level of stearic acid and flavonoids, consumption of dark chocolate is often said to be a product to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Dark chocolate has many benefits in cardiovascular function:
- It prevents irregular heartbeat - According to Harvard Study, people who consume a moderate quantity of dark chocolate are at low risk of suffering from atrial fibrillation.
- It reduces the risk of stroke and heart attack - It is believed that dark chocolate contains various biologically active compounds that enhance the normal supply of oxygen rich blood to the heart muscles and prevents the occurrence of stroke or heart attack.
- It reduces blood pressure - Blood pressure is a pressure of the flow of blood on the walls of the arteries. When this pressure becomes high than normal, it is known as high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a common cause of heart disease, but it is believed that dark chocolate is one of the effective treatment of high blood pressure and it primarily due to flavonols.
- It regulates cholesterol level - High blood cholesterol is one of the most common causes of heart attack and other heart diseases. Studies have stated that polyphenols in dark chocolate act as an antioxidant that delays the oxidation of low density lipoprotein and reduce plasma concentration.
Multiple studies have proved that consumption of moderate quantities of dark chocolate can help in improving the mental health of an individual. The biggest example to prove the association between dark chocolate and mental health is the effects of chocolate on the mood. Chocolate is often followed by a better mood. It makes a person happy!!
- Chocolate enhances mood. The high concentration of magnesium in dark chocolate elevates the mood. Dark chocolate is also known to have an impact on the secretion of serotonin. Serotonin is a primary chemical the regulates the mood of an individual. It contributes to the feeling of well being and happiness.
- Consumption of chocolate has also been known to reduce the effects of some common psychological conditions such as depression and anxiety. It is estimated that a large percentage of adults these days suffer from anxiety and depression. In patients suffering from depression or anxiety, dark chocolate acts as an antidepressant. Chocolate eating is considered to be a form of self medication.
- Chocolate also has an impact on the stress level of a person. It is believed that an individual who suffers from any mental health disorder have high stress level as compared to a healthy person. Stress has the ability to make a condition worse by triggering the complications of the disorder. Dark chocolate reduces the level of stress and prevents the damage caused by it.