There has been ample research to suggest that dark chocolate has immense health benefits. It’s supposed to keep heart disease away, lowers blood pressure, lowers cholesterol and do we really need to expound the feel-good qualities of this food item! It contains less sugar and milk compared to regular chocolate which reduces the calorie count. So treat yourself to some dark chocolate.Welcome to the dark side.
Here are some of the more unknown benefits of dark chocolate.
1. Reduces heart attack risk - Antioxidants protect the body from aging caused by free radicals, which can suppress the chances of heart attacks. Also it is the oxidative damage by free radicals that is responsible for cancer.
2. Lowers blood pressure - Flavonoids (the antioxidants in chocolate) lower high blood pressure through the production of nitric acid and helps maintain hormonal balance.
3. Lowers cholesterol- Dark chocolate Lowers LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) by 10% according to some studies.
4. Makes you happy – Like exercising, chocolate stimulates endorphin production which gives an immense sense of pleasure. Alcohol too gives an endorphin high but then chocolate is a much healthier option and isn’t known to cause liver damage.
5. Lowers depression – Chocolate raises your serotonin level (neurotransmitter) which acts as an anti-depressant.
6. Acts as a stimulant - Theobromine can be described as a stimulant similar to caffeine but without affecting the Central Nervous System to a great extent which gives a similar feel-good effect.
7. Mostly contains good fat – Chocolate contains three kinds of fat in equal proportion:
The Good: Oleic Acid is a healthy monounsaturated fat that occurs in olive oil as well.
The Neutral: Stearic Acid is a saturated fat but one which research shows has no effect on cholesterol levels.
The Ugly: Palmitic Acid is also a saturated fat (the bad fat), one which raises cholesterol and heart disease risk. So we can see 2/3 of the fat from dark chocolate isn’t bad at all. We are not saying that you tuck into a pound of chocolate a day though.
8. Acts as an aphrodisiac - Chocolate has long been linked to sexual desire. In fact it was the Aztecs who drew a connection between cocoa beans and libido. Chocolate contains two chemicals with aphrodisiac qualities: tryptophan (building block of serotonin) a brain chemical involved in sexual arousal and phenylethylamine, a stimulant related to amphetamine, which is released in the brain when people fall in love.
9. Contains lots of natural minerals - As a plant-based cocoa contains many naturally occurring minerals that boost your health. Some of them are copper, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium.
Disclaimer: Overconsumption of dark chocolate may lead to obesity and other related diseases.First Published: Mar 3, 2012 at 7:16 PM