Chocolate connoisseurs are fairly in agreement that, even in 2000 BC, chocolates were a profoundly favorite food for the higher ups of the society. In Mayan civilization, a bitterly-tasted and fermented drink derived from the cacao beans with the mix of fragrant spices and wine was very popular. Not only that, cacao beans were even used as currencies in Mayan civilization.
The present days of course are far different – today, it seems, pretty much everyone loves chocolates. And why on earth we shouldn’t – not only they are a treat to our taste buds but they are also beneficial to our overall health. We now have many variations available and each of them is supposedly different and should offer something unique. Although the supermarket offerings remain generic, the handmade premium chocolates are providing the much needed distinctions with quality. And among the many variants, dark chocolates are known as one of the most loved and most beneficial for us.
So, if you are salivating and have already started dreaming of savoring dark chocolates every day – I can give you a few reasons to justify your indulgences.
Dark Chocolates And Their Greatness:
Dark chocolates are rich in cocoa – from around 50% to all the way up to 100%. It tastes bitter and basically made up of cocoa solids, sugar and cocoa butter without any milk. The percentages of cocoa determine the bitterness that is the signature taste of dark chocolates.
Takes Good Care of Our Heart:
The biggest benefit that is associated with consumption of dark chocolates is that dark chocolates may reduce the risk of heart diseases. In 2014, a study published in the renowned BMJ Journals showed that people who consumed more dark chocolates had reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. In an earlier study, the Americans had also found out that the people who took dark chocolates more than five times in a week, had a 57% less risk of heart disease.
Dark chocolates are blessed with flavonoids which are plant-based pigments that work on keeping the heart healthy. Those natural chemicals produce nitric oxide, which is essential in relaxing the blood vessels. As a result of having relaxed blood vessels, ultimately our blood pressure remains under control and keeps our heart healthy and strong.
A Savior For Our Mental Well-Being:
Numerous studies have shown that dark chocolates enhance stimulation in our neural activities – especially in those parts which are responsible for giving us the feelings of pleasure and reward. And it’s only natural that the subsequent reverse effect will be that our feelings of sadness and undue stress will be minimized. In 2018, a study, presented in the yearly meet of the Experimental Biology, revealed that consumption of about 48 grams of organic chocolate with 70% cocoa raised neuroplasticity in human brain. In simple terms, the study signifies that dark chocolates can boost our memory, heighten our cognitive ability, and at the same time, improve our mood.
Fights With The Nasties:
Recent studies are showing that the balanced consumption of dark chocolate rich in cocoa can help the body to metabolize glucose. So, impossible as it may seem, eating dark chocolates can be one of the best ways to prevent diabetes. Remember the flavonoids? These goodies are famous for mitigating oxidative stresses. And as per biochemists, stress is the main culprit to make your body insulin resistant, which ultimately would result in having you initiated with diabetes. The fact of the matter – dark chocolates are preventing you from diabetes.
Dark chocolates act like prebiotic (do not confuse it with probiotic) – more like a fiber that facilitates the increase of beneficial bacteria in our abdomen. And the more we have good bacteria in our digestive tract, the better our body is equipped to absorb nutrients from foods. As a result, our metabolism improves and as a direct effect of improved metabolism, we get rid of inflammation.
Works As Our Beautician:
Iron, copper, magnesium, manganese etc are plentiful in dark chocolates. Most of those natural minerals work wonders on our skins. Manganese increases the production of the essential protein known as collagen which keeps our skin healthy and youthful. Then there is calcium which works as the repairing agent of our skin which sheds almost 40,000 cells daily. Some studies also found out that antioxidants in dark chocolates may also prevent our skins from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun.
Controller Of The Cholesterol Clans:
Dark chocolates are known as cholesterol-controlling food. In 2017, the American Heart Association published a study and it said that dark chocolate and unsweetened cocoa with a handful of almonds can make a significant drop of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), which are known as the ‘Bad’ cholesterol. The excessive amounts of LDL cholesterols in the arteries increase clogging and as a result, the risk of heart attacks increases.
On the other hand, the cocoa butter is said to be a propellant that increases high-density lipoproteins (HDL), which we, the health-conscious, Australian chocolate lovers know as good-cholesterols. The HDLs then carry the cholesterols to the liver, the liver flushes out cholesterols and keeps the arteries clean and the heart remains strong.
To be honest, there are more unsubstantiated health benefits than I have mentioned above. But don’t start ordering dark chocolates just yet. Because ‘too much of a good thing’ can sometimes be a bad thing. So, please allow me to say something about the healthy portion you can have everyday:
Healthy Portion-Size For Everyday Delight:
As per the experts, the size of the portion should be 30 to 60 gram to get the best out of dark chocolates, if you are dying to have it everyday. About six small pieces or two large squares of dark chocolates would amount to that weight. A 40-gram bar of most available dark chocolate brands will provide you about 190-200 calories. In contrast, a medium-sized raw apple will probably give you only 95 calories. So, you shouldn’t be replacing healthy options with dark chocolates. Rather, enjoy them within the recommended quantity prescribed by the specialists as a part of a balanced diet.
Now, go and have fun devouring delicious dark chocolates.