It would be surprising to know that eating chocolates can be beneficial. However not all varieties of chocolate can offer the same set of benefits. The more the chocolate is processed, the lesser health benefits it retains. This is also the reason raw cacao products have gained popularity.
Non-raw dark chocolate is also relatively healthy provided that it does not contain too many added unhealthy ingredients like high fructose corn syrup.
Listed below are some common advantages and health benefits of consuming chocolate-
1. High in Antioxidants
Cocoa contains flavanols, a type of flavanoid that is only found in cocoa and chocolate. Flavanoids are known to act as antioxidants. They also help counteract free radicals in the body.
2. Blood Pressure Benefits
Dark chocolate lowers blood pressure in people with elevated blood pressure. When a person feels uneasy and low on sugar a chocolate bar can act as an immediate stimulus.
3. Lower LDL Cholesterol
Eating a few pieces of dark chocolate every now and then has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol by as much as 10 percent.
4. Natural Anti-Depressant
Chocolate contains serotonin, a natural anti-depressant. Chocolate also assists in endorphin production, which creates feelings of joy and pleasure. In fact, a particular study showed that melting chocolate in the mouth was more pleasurable than passionate kissing. This also explains why many people naturally reach for chocolate when they're depressed.
5. Cancer Fighter
Several studies have found chocolate to be one of the best cancer-fighting foods along with other foods like tea, red wine, blueberries and garlic. Current research shows that chocolate works as a cancer fighter in a dual way, it inhibits cell division and also reduces inflammation.
6. Prevents Tooth Decay
Research has found that the theobromine in chocolate prevents tooth decay by eliminating the mostly prevalent bacteria called streptococcus mutants, often found in the oral cavity. This particular bacterium is the one that largely contributes to tooth decay. Hence visiting a dentist is not always because of consumption of chocolates. It’s always advisable to brush immediately after consuming chocolate. It can lead to tooth decay if stuck in it for longer time.
7. High in Magnesium Cacao:
Chocolate is higher in magnesium than almost any other plant. Magnesium is a crucial mineral that helps in regulating the neurological, cardiovascular and digestive systems. Since many people suffer from magnesium deficiency, adding magnesium-rich dark chocolate to their daily diet can improve overall health.
8. Artery Cleanup
Antioxidants in cacao help to sweep out and thus get rid of the plaque that often builds up in the arteries.
9. Brain Health
Dark chocolate can help in protecting the brain after a stroke by shielding the nerve cells from further damage. Studies also show that dark chocolate helps to improve memory.
Both dark and milk chocolates are relatively healthy and the darker the chocolate, the healthier it is. Hence do not worry much about gifting chocolates to friends and family. However, the fact of consuming any product in adequate quantity should be kept in mind. Anything that is consumed excessively could have an adverse effect and will not do justice to our health.
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