Dark chocolate is a type of chocolate that contains cocoa butter and cocoa solids compounds. Dark chocolates do not contain milk like regular chocolates. The history of dark chocolate dates back more than 3000 years. Dark chocolates contain no milk solids; ingredients include sugar, cocoa beans, and emulsifiers.
The milk chocolate is sweeter, but the dark chocolate is more true to the taste of chocolate. Dark chocolate will have a bitter aftertaste due to its lack of milk. Different types of dark chocolate can be distinguished by their cocoa content. Dark chocolates can be classified as bittersweet, semisweet, or sweet.
Top 10 Benefits of Dark Chocolate
1. Full of Antioxidants
Dark chocolate is rich with organic compounds that act like antioxidants. To test for antioxidant activity in foods, researchers can set bad molecules against a sample to see if the antioxidants can “disarm”. Pure dark chocolate, made from unprocessed cocoa beans, ranks among the top-scoring foods. Studies have shown that dark chocolate has more antioxidants than blueberries or superfoods like acai berries.
2. Improves Heart Health
Dark chocolate is rich in epicatechin, a plant-based compound that stimulates the lining of your arteries to make nitric oxide. Nitric oxide, a chemical compound, relaxes the blood vessels, increases blood flow to the heart and lowers blood pressure. Dark chocolate’s antioxidants protect the blood vessel lining by preventing the oxidation of LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol. These effects all work together to reduce your risk of developing heart disease, stroke and heart attack.
3. Reduced Cholesterol
Dark chocolate increases the good cholesterol while lowering bad cholesterol. Cocoa butter is rich in oleic acid, monounsaturated, unsaturated fat, and the same fat as olive oil, which is heart healthy chocolate. A week of dark chocolate consumption was sufficient to increase lipid profiles and reduce platelet reactivity in both men and women.
4. Boosts Athletic Performance
Research shows that dark chocolate intake can improve exercise performance. The nitric oxide produced by the arteries increases with the addition of epicatechin, which enhances oxygen availability for the muscles. These effects enable athletes to perform for longer periods.
5. Reduces Stress
Dark chocolate has been proven to improve mood, pleasure and enjoyment. Dark chocolate’s plant compounds act as antioxidants and help lower cortisol levels. A study found that people who consumed 85% of dark chocolate daily had a better mood than those who ate less or didn’t consume chocolate.
6. Increases brain function
It can improve your focus and memory and prevent your brain from aging. Researchers at Nottingham discovered that dark chocolate could increase blood flow to certain brain areas for a few hours, which directly leads to improved task performance and alertness. A 2013 study in Neurology reported that dark chocolate, when consumed in moderate quantities, can increase your memory by nearly 30% and improve your problem-solving skills.
7. Dark Chocolate Benefits for Skin
Because it is quick to heal your skin, healthy dark chocolate is very beneficial. It’s rich in minerals and other skin-healing nutrients. Dark chocolate can make your skin look smoother and more vibrant. It will also reduce the appearance of acne scars, blemishes, and other problems. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids that protect your skin from sun damage and increase blood flow. They also help to improve the skin’s density. Flavonoids can also improve your complexion and prevent premature aging.
8. Increase blood flow
Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that stimulate the lining of the arteries, creating a gas that signals the streets to relax and allows blood to flow more easily. Blood flowing freely allows it to reach all body parts, delivering nutrients and oxygen without complications.
9. Improve Blood Sugar Levels
Research has shown that dark chocolate with high cacao content can improve glucose metabolism, which could help to prevent insulin resistance, the leading cause of high blood sugar.
A study published in the Journal of Hospital and Community Internal Medicine Perspectives found that dark chocolate flavonoids reduced oxidative stress. This is thought to be the main cause of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can be reduced by increasing your body’s sensitivity, reducing the likelihood of developing diseases like diabetes.
10. Mood Booster
Two saturated fatty acids in dark chocolate, palmitic acid and stearic acid, boost your mood and make you happy. They stimulate neural activity in brain regions related to pleasure and reward.