Dark chocolate contains many antioxidants, which contribute to a reduced risk of heart disease and brain function.
One bar of dark chocolate (100 g) with 70-85% cocoa contains 11 g of fiber; 66% iron, 57% magnesium for daily nutritional needs. In addition, this food is also high in potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium. However, 100 g is a large amount that should not be consumed every day. Each person should consume chocolate in moderation to bring many health benefits, according to Healthline.
Strong source of antioxidants
Chocolate contains many biologically active organic compounds that act as antioxidants. These include polyphenols, flavanols and catechins. According to research, the polyphenols in dark chocolate can help lower some forms of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol when combined with other foods like almonds and cocoa.
The fatty acid composition of cocoa and chocolate is also good. Fats are mainly composed of oleic acid (a heart-healthy fat), stearic acid, and palmitic acid.
Increases HDL cholesterol
In one small study, eating dark chocolate supplemented with flavanol lycopene was found to significantly reduce levels of total cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and triglycerides. Some forms of LDL cholesterol are more likely to oxidize, which happens if they react with free radicals in the body. Oxidation makes LDL particles self-reactive, potentially damaging other tissues, such as the lining of arteries in the heart.
Cocoa reduces easily oxidized forms of LDL. Foods contain a lot of powerful antioxidants that can enter the bloodstream, protecting lipoproteins against oxidative damage. Flavanols may also reduce insulin resistance, another common risk factor for heart disease and diabetes. However, foods also contain sugar, which can have the opposite effect.
Reduce the risk of heart disease
Compounds in foods have the ability to fight the oxidation of cholesterol – LDL. In the long run, this will cause less cholesterol to stay in the arteries, leading to a lower risk of heart disease. Several studies have shown that consuming cocoa or chocolate rich in flavanols can lower blood pressure and improve heart health.
A review of studies found that eating chocolate three times per week reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by 9%, with more frequent consumption reducing the benefits.
Another review found that eating 45 g of chocolate per week reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by 11%, while consuming more than 100 g per week did not appear to provide any health benefits.
Improve brain function
Many studies show that eating cocoa with high flavanol content can improve blood flow to the brain in young people. This improves attention, verbal learning, memory. Flavanoids in cocoa may also help maintain cognitive function in slightly impaired older adults, reducing the risk of progression to dementia.
In addition, cocoa contains stimulants such as caffeine and theobromine that improve brain function in the short term.