Dark chocolate has always been an indulgence, but it’s one of the healthiest things you can eat. It is a popular treat that has been shown to have many benefits. It can be eaten with or without sugar, and it offers various flavors. Dark chocolate also offers some nutritional benefits, but the side effects are not always good for your health.
The typical American eats around 12 pounds of chocolate per year, and the global chocolate market is worth more than $75 billion each year. With so much chocolate being consumed, it’s important to make informed decisions about which kind to consume so that you may enjoy your favorite sweets guilt-free while reaping the advantages of dark chocolate.
Although certain chocolates are high in antioxidants and polyphenols, they must remember that not all chocolates are made equal. For example, processed, heavily sweetened chocolate has few if any health advantages, but the health benefits of dark chocolate are many and outstanding.
So, is dark chocolate good for you? Here’s all you need to know about this delicious delicacy, including how to include it in a balanced diet.
1. Antioxidant protection against disease-causing free radicals
Dark chocolate’s capacity to neutralize free radicals is one of its strongest qualities. Free radicals are dangerous substances produced by the body’s biological activities that may cause inflammation and chronic illness.
Antioxidants are substances that are thought to protect the body from harm and illness by neutralizing free radicals.
Antioxidants such as flavonoids and polyphenols are abundant in dark chocolate. Cocoa, for instance, has been demonstrated to contain a higher concentration of polyphenols and flavonoids than both wine and tea.
As a result, the greater the cacao/cocoa percentage in your next chocolate bar, the more beneficial antioxidants you’ll be getting.
2. Cancer Prevention Possibilities
It may be difficult to believe, but that delicious chocolate you enjoy may also help you avoid cancer. Dark chocolate’s potential as a cancer-fighting food is one of its many advantages.
Chocolate flavonoids and antioxidants have been shown to be particularly useful in the fight against colon cancer in studies. Dark chocolate, for example, was proven to successfully inhibit the development and spread of colon cancer cells in rats in one experimental model.
Its capacity to lower oxidative stress, reduce inflammation, and stop the formation of cancer cells, according to another study, might help protect against colon cancer.
3. Better Heart Health
The most common flavonoid found in chocolate is flavanols. According to the Cleveland Clinic, flavanols positively impact heart health by lowering blood pressure and boosting blood flow to both the heart and the brain.
These flavanols may also lessen the risk of stroke by preventing blood platelets from clotting.
According to a research published in the International Journal of Cardiology, individuals were given either a daily dosage of flavonoid-rich dark chocolate or non-flavonoid white chocolate for two weeks. The findings revealed that eating flavonoid-rich chocolate enhanced circulation in adults however white chocolate did not affect health.
Another research from 2015 looked at the health of over 20,000 individuals for 11 years and found that eating more chocolate was linked to a decreased risk of heart disease. Compared to 17.4 percent of those who didn’t eat chocolate, 12 percent of those who ate the most developed or died of cardiovascular disease throughout the trial.
4. Beneficial to Cholesterol Profile Overall
Chocolate’s cocoa butter contains healthful fats and polyphenols, which are helpful substances that serve as antioxidants in the body.
In a 2009 study published in the Southern Medical Journal, researchers looked at the effects of chocolate on 28 healthy people. They discovered that only one week of dark chocolate intake improved lipid profiles, lowered platelet reactivity, and reduced inflammation.
Another evaluation of ten research found that eating flavonol-rich chocolate lowers total and harmful LDL cholesterol levels, both of which are key risk factors for heart disease.
5. Improved Cognitive Functioning
According to certain studies, flavonol-rich dark chocolate may enhance blood flow to the brain, possibly assisting in treating cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Furthermore, a 2009 research published in the Journal of Nutrition found that eating flavonoid-rich foods like chocolate, wine, and tea was connected to increased brain function and cognitive performance.
6. Improved blood pressure
Several studies have shown that including chocolate in your diet helps lower blood pressure, perhaps protecting you from heart disease and stroke.
Consuming 25 grams of dark chocolate, for example, was shown to reduce blood pressure in those with type 2 diabetes and hypertension in a 2015 research. Not only that, but compared to a control group, it was also able to lower fasting blood sugar levels dramatically.
7. High in Antioxidants
The overall flavanol and polyphenol content and antioxidant activity level of chocolate and cocoa powder were compared to superfruits including acai, cranberry, blueberry, and pomegranate in a research published in Chemistry Central Journal.
So, what did the research reveal? First, the flavanol concentration of cocoa powder (30.1 milligrams per gram) was found to be much higher than that of any other superfruit powders, according to the researchers.
Dark chocolate, except for pomegranate, has a greater antioxidant content than all of the super fruit liquids. Furthermore, chocolate had the greatest overall polyphenol content per serving (approximately 1,000 mg per serving), much greater than all fruit liquids except pomegranate juice.
8. Possibility of a Vision Booster
Although further study is required, a human clinical experiment published in June 2018 found that 30 participants’ contrast sensitivity and visual acuity increased after ingesting dark chocolate vs. milk chocolate, suggesting that it might assist enhance eyesight. However, further research is required to determine how chocolate and its components may affect eyesight in the long run.
9. Maintains the health of the skin
The flavonol content of dark chocolate and its capacity to defend against sun damage are two of the best dark chocolate skin advantages. A research out of London discovered that consuming flavonol-rich chocolate may help protect against UV damage.
Meanwhile, some studies suggest that eating chocolate daily might help to decrease skin roughness, increase hydration, and improve blood flow to the skin.
So, is dark chocolate healthy? Dark chocolate nutrition is extremely outstanding, particularly when it comes to fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese, and copper.
Dark chocolate benefits abound as a result of all of this sweetness.
The following nutrients may be found in just one ounce of dark chocolate with 70% to 85% cocoa solids:
- Calorie Count: 168
- Carbs: 12.8 grams
- Protein: 2.2 grams
- Fat: 12 grams
- Fiber: 3.1 grams
- Manganese: 0.5 milligrams (27 percent DV)
- Copper: 0.5 milligrams (25 percent DV)
- Iron: 3.3 milligrams (19 percent DV)
- Magnesium: 63.8 milligrams (16 percent DV)
- Phosphorus: 86.2 milligrams (9 percent DV)
- Potassium: 200 milligrams (6 percent DV)
- Zinc: 0.9 micrograms (6 percent DV)
- Vitamin K: 2 micrograms (3 percent DV)
- Selenium: 1.9 micrograms (3 percent DV)
- Calcium: 20.4 milligrams (2 percent DV)
Side Effects and Risks
Despite the many health advantages of dark chocolate, there are some adverse effects to consider. Chocolate, in particular, has been associated with adverse effects such as:
- Gaining weight
- Disruptions in sleep
- Mood swings
Many individuals also ask whether dark chocolate is vegan. It is debatable.
Whether you’re avoiding dairy for personal or health reasons, it’s important to check labels carefully to guarantee you’re getting 100% dark chocolate. Milk is permissible to add in dark chocolate, but since it’s one of the eight main food allergens, chocolate producers must disclose it as an ingredient in the United States.
According to the FDA, chocolates are one of the most prevalent sources of undeclared milk connected to consumer responses. Furthermore, recent FDA tests have shown that reading the ingredient label alone isn’t always enough to determine if a bar of chocolate contains milk.
Many producers create dark chocolate using the same machinery they use to make milk chocolate, increasing the danger of cross-contamination. If you’re worried about the presence of milk in your chocolate, you should contact the maker before eating it.
Soy lecithin, which is routinely used as an emulsifying agent, is another probable allergy to look out for in chocolate (including organic ones). Soy lecithin does include tiny levels of soy proteins, which have been linked to soy allergies in the past.
However, it seems that soy lecithin does not contain enough soy protein residues to cause allergic responses in most soy-allergic people.
Because chocolate is neither a low-calorie nor low-fat food, there are additional reasons to avoid overindulging. However, the taste is so intense that you can eat just a little piece and get the advantages of dark chocolate.
If you have pets, make sure they don’t get into your chocolate stash since chocolate is deadly to both cats and dogs in all forms.
How Much Should You Eat?
Although chocolate may be a healthy supplement to a diet, it’s crucial to remember that each dark chocolate serving has many calories.
To prevent overindulging, eat a little slice after a substantial meal or include it in a dish. To keep your calorie intake under control, start with one ounce every day.
If you’re on a weight-loss regimen and prefer dark chocolate, make additional dietary modifications as required to account for the extra calories.
It’s also a good idea to limit your chocolate consumption if you have any dietary limitations. For example, while you can eat dark chocolate on a keto diet, it’s preferable to choose kinds with a greater proportion of dark chocolate and eat fewer portions to keep your carb consumption low.
Choosing brands that have at least 70% cocoa might also help you achieve the finest dark chocolate available.
Additionally, if you’re caffeine-sensitive or want to avoid it totally, you should be aware that chocolate contains detectable levels of caffeine. Nervousness, increased urination, insomnia, and a quick pulse are all possible adverse symptoms of a caffeine overdose.
One ounce of chocolate contains around 12 mg of caffeine. While this is substantially less than a cup of coffee or an energy drink, if you’re sensitive to caffeine, keep this in mind when choosing your portion size.
- Is dark chocolate beneficial to your health? Take a look at the dark chocolate nutrition facts to learn why this amazing food is beneficial to your health.
- Each dish is rich in manganese, copper, iron, and magnesium and is a high-fiber meal.
- Improved heart health, blood pressure, and cognitive function are just a few of the top advantages of dark chocolate for men and women.
- Other possible dark chocolate advantages include improved skin health, improved eyesight, and lower cholesterol levels.
- The most prevalent negative effects of dark chocolate are weight gain, acne, bloating, migraines, and sleep difficulties.
- Furthermore, since dark chocolate is heavy in calories, it’s crucial to limit your consumption and choose healthy dark chocolate variants with a greater proportion of cocoa solids to get the most out of it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the side effects of dark chocolate?
A: Dark chocolate is healthy for most people, but there are some side effects, so please read the ingredients if you’re worried about that.
What are the disadvantages of chocolate?
A: The disadvantage of chocolate is the fact that it can cause digestive issues and stomach problems.
What are the side effects of eating chocolate daily?
A: The side effects of eating chocolate daily are a darkening in skin tone, increased blood pressure, an increase in heart rate, and high cholesterol levels.
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