Nov 12, 2014 Comments (0)

Five Reasons to Eat Dark Chocolate

We have all heard tales of how chocolate is not good for health because it is loaded with calories. Sadly, it is true but only for the store-variety kind and not dark chocolate, which is a revelation. Here are some reasons why chocolate (dark) is rightly called the food of the gods.

Dark chocolate is full of nutrients

Dark chocolate is nutrient-rich. It also contains a good quantity of soluble fiber. 100 gm of dark chocolate (70-85 percent of cocoa) has 67 percent, 58 percent, 89 percent and 98 percent of your daily recommended allowance of iron, magnesium, copper and manganese, respectively. It also contains substantial quantities of phosphorous, potassium, selenium and zinc.

Of course, 100 gm of dark chocolate is a big quantity and not something that you should eat everyday. Every type of food should be consumed in moderation.

Dark chocolate contains a lot of antioxidants

Dark chocolate contains a large quantity of flavanols, catechins and polyphenols - plant chemicals which function as antioxidants. There is a measure called Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, which determines how well a food is able to combat free radicals. In this test, raw cocoa powder achieved a very high score. Since dark chocolate contains large quantity of cocoa, we assume that dark chocolate combats free radicals well.

Dark chocolate can lower bad cholesterol

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In the mid-90s, many studies were conducted to find the connection between cholesterol and chocolate. The idea was to show chocolate in bad light. However, the results were unexpected. It was found that chocolate, especially dark chocolate had a high proportion of stearic acid - a type of saturated fat which can actually reduce bad cholesterol. Now we know that dark chocolate lowers bad cholesterol, by preventing its oxidation.

Dark chocolate can boost brain power

A 2007 study at the University of Nottingham found that dark chocolate can boost the flow of blood into the brain for up to two or three hours after its consumption. It means you can increase your alertness and performance at least for some time by eating dark chocolate. It is also a fact that chocolate contains stimulants such as theobromine and caffeine, which could again explain the increased flow of blood to the brain.

Dark chocolate can reduce incidence of cardiovascular disease

By preventing the oxidation of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, dark chocolate reduces the chances of it lodging in your arteries. There was a study at the Center for Nutrition and Health at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, involving 470 elderly men who regularly ate cocoa containing food over a 15-year period. During follow up, 314 had passed away but only 152 expired of cardiovascular disease. It means regular intake of cocoa containing foods can reduce the incidence of death from cardiovascular disease by more than 50 percent.

So you see, there are a number of health benefits of eating dark chocolate. The next time you want to eat chocolate, think about switching it with dark chocolate.