Yes you’ve read the correct, dark chocolate packs a wide variety of nutrients that has some very beneficial properties to our health. Before we sink our teeth into those benefits, let’s get a couple of things straight from the outset. When talking about chocolate during this post we’re talking high quality, organic dark chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa. We’re not referring to the sugary crap.
Getting a clear understanding of the term health is also important. According to The World Health Organisation (WHO), “Health” is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing. It’s not simply the absence of illness or disease like many initially believe it to be.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that just because dark chocolate does offer some health benefits, it’s not a free pass to eat as much as you like. Energy balancing principles still apply. If you consume more energy than you burn, you’ll be in a hypercaloric state. This means weight gain. If you consume less, the opposite happens. You’ll be in a hypocaloric state and you’ll lose weight. A few squares consumed here and there throughout the week won’t make much of a difference in the grand scheme of things. It could also help keep cravings for other sugary snacks at bay.
Dark Chocolate Is A Powerful Source Of Antioxidants
Loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants, dark chocolate could help minimise free radical damage. These compounds include polyphenols, flavanols and catechins. One particular study showed that cocoa and dark chocolate contained more antioxidant activity, polyphenols and flavanols than other fruits they tested. Which included both blueberries and acai berries.
Dark Chocolate Is Nutritious
Choosing a high quality, organic product means you’ll be getting a fairly nutritious snack. It contains a strong hit of soluble fibre and minerals. This includes iron, magnesium, copper, zinc and selenium.
Dark Chocolate Could Improve Blood Flow
The flavanols contained in dark chocolate can prompt the endothelium (the lining of arteries) to produce the gas Nitric Oxide (NO). One of the main functions of NO is to send signals to the arteries to relax. This in turn reduces resistance to blood flow and lowers blood pressure. Both of these benefits are very important if you want a healthier, leaner and stronger body.
Dark Chocolate May Lower The Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease
The compounds in dark chocolate appear to be extremely protective against the oxidation of LDL or bad cholesterol. As a result, this should cause much less cholesterol to lodge in the arteries and we should see a lower risk of heart disease developing over the long term.
Dark Chocolate May Offer The Skin Protection From The Sun
The flavonols found in cocoa could actually protect us against sun-induced damage, improve blood flow to the skin and increase skin density and hydration. Consider upping the quantity of dark chocolate you consume in the weeks leading up to your next summer holiday. Ofcourse remembering the principles of energy balancing still apply! It would even make a great snack to keep on hand during your holiday.
Dark Chocolate Could Improve Social Wellbeing
Say what? I’m thinking outside of the box here. If you re-read the definition of “health” at the start of the article, you’ll notice health also refers to social wellbeing. Being able to consume dark chocolate during a diet plan could help improve relationships with family and friends. No one wants to be the person that’s says “I can’t eat that” or “I’m not allowed that”. It will make the individual feel more socially accepted and as a result help with the adherence to the plan.