High quality dark chocolate can elevate your mood and does wonders for your health. Read on to find out the health benefits of this delicious bittersweet treat.
With a pre-historic background, dark chocolate is a delightful bittersweet snack that is universally enjoyed by many. Did you know that the first ever solid chocolate bar was introduced in the year 1847, at least 4,000 years after the initial discovery of chocolate. Pre-Olmec cultures in Mexico produced chocolate as early as 1,900 BC and it was originally consumed as a bitter beverage.
Throughout its history, chocolate has retained its status as a symbol of luxury, wealth and power. During the 14th century, the Aztecs and Mayans even used cacao beans as currency. The evolution of chocolate has resulted in many creative variations today. Dark chocolate is believed to be the most beneficial because of its high cocoa content compared to milk or white chocolate.
- Dark chocolate is good for your heart. It helps restore flexibility to arteries while preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels – both of which are common causes of artery clogging.
- Dark chocolate lowers the susceptibility of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) to oxidative damage while increasing HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and improving insulin sensitivity.
- There is 67 percent of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Iron, 58 percent of the RDA for Magnesium, 89 percent of the RDA for Copper and 98 percent of the RDA for Manganese in a 100 gram bar of dark chocolate with 70 to 85 percent cocoa.
- Dark chocolate reduces the risk of strokes. Researchers in Finland have found that chocolate consumption lowers the risk of suffering a stroke.
- Great for the skin. The flavonols in dark chocolate can protect the skin against sun damage.
- A 100 grammes of dark chocolate with more than 70 percent cocoa contains 11 grammes of fibre.
- Good for the brain. Flavanols are thought to reduce memory loss in older people, and the anti-inflammatory qualities of dark chocolate have been found to be beneficial in treating brain injuries such as concussions.
- Mood booster. Dark chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), which is the same chemical that your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love. PEA encourages your brain to release feel-good endorphins.
- Rich with antioxidants. Dark chocolate is loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants.
- Milk binds to antioxidants making them unavailable. Therefore, milk chocolate is not a good antioxidant source.