Almost anyone who enjoys sweets would choose milk chocolate over the bitter variety. However, this assortment of chocolate isn’t as nearly as healthy as dark chocolate. Dark choco is loaded with nutrients that offer a number of benefits to one’s health. What’s the difference between the two and what are the benefits of consuming dark chocolate? Here’s all you need to know.
What Makes Dark Chocolate Healthy?
Dark chocolate has approximately 50 to 90 percent of cocoa which is rich in flavonoids. Flavonoids, which are known as plant chemicals, help lessen cell damage that may lead to sicknesses such as heart disease. Moreover, flavonoids help lower blood pressure and improve vascular function.
When consumed in proper amounts, dark chocolate prevents inflammation and enhances the potency of vitamin C. Further studies also claim that it normalizes the level of cholesterol and stabilizes blood sugar levels.
How Is It Different from Milk Chocolate?
Apart from the number of flavonoids, dark chocolate isn’t mixed with sugar, cream, and milk, unlike milk chocolate. While there is still nutritional value in milk chocolate due to the amount of cocoa, it pales in comparison to dark choco. Also, more cocoa equals more flavonoids. However, the higher the cocoa content, the more bitter it is in taste.
Dark Chocolate: It’s Nutritional Value
For every 100 grams of dark choco, it carries these nutrients along with their percentage:
- Copper: 89 percent
- Fiber: 11 grams
- Iron: 67 percent
- Magnesium: 98 percent
- Phosphorus: 33 percent
- Potassium: 22 percent
- Selenium: 11 percent
- Zinc: 22 percent
Take note that a healthy amount of dark chocolate is approximately 1.5 ounces. Overconsumption of dark or milk chocolate can lead to other health problems such as diabetes.
What Are the Benefits of Dark Choco?
Before you swap that bar of bitter chocolate with the usual sweet version, here are a few health benefits dark chocolate has. It might change your mind about grabbing your go-to chocolate bar and exchanging it for a bar of dark choco.
1. Improves Eye Health
Scientists claim that consuming dark chocolate can significantly improve one’s eye health. Furthermore, it is great for those with weak vision, and it can lessen the risk for eye infections. Of course, it is still best to seek medical advice if an eye infection occurs, rather than consuming a bar of dark chocolate.
2. Improves Oral Health
Unlike other varieties of chocolate, dark choco has theobromine which is a vital constituent in fighting tooth deterioration. Moreover, theobromine fights the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Again, it is still important to visit your dentist regularly for oral health care.
3. Improves Heart Health and Facilitates Proper Circulation of Blood
As mentioned, dark chocolate has flavonoids that can help in improving the health of one’s heart. It helps in facilitating proper blood flow as well as in preventing blood clots, cell damage, and inflammation.
4. Enhances Psychological Health
Is stress or anxiety causing you to lose focus? Well, a bar of dark chocolate can help as well. Dark choco can greatly improve one’s psychological well-being by reducing the levels of stress and anxiety. Moreover, consuming a healthy amount can help improve your cognition for better concentration and performance.
5. Boosts Immune System
Dark choco is also rich in antioxidants that can help boost and improve one’s immune system. Antioxidants thwart the damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules. Free radicals damage healthy cells and can lead to illnesses such as liver or heart disease. Fight and avoid free radical damage by adding dark chocolate into your diet.
6. Boosts Energy
Are you in dire need of a quick energy boost? Consuming dark choco can help. However, if fatigue is a constant problem, then it is best to seek medical attention from a healthcare provider. The constant feeling of being tired may mean something else entirely.
7. Boosts Mood
Full of phenethylamine, dark choco helps to boost one’s mood. Phenethylamine is a compound that helps in the release of endorphins which are responsible for one’s good mood. If you’re feeling down, then consuming a healthy amount of dark chocolate is bound to perk your mood.
8. Lessens Risk of Cancer and Other Diseases
This variety of chocolate is loaded with antioxidants which fight off free radicals, infectious bacteria, toxins, and chemicals. Antioxidants even fight cancerous cells. By consuming a healthy amount of dark chocolate, you’re lessening the risk of getting sick of cancer or other weakening diseases. However, dark choco should not be used as a preventive measure. A healthy lifestyle should be considered which include a proper diet and regular exercise.
9. Keeps One Full
Thanks to its fiber content, dark chocolate can keep you full and give you lots of energy. In cases when hunger strikes, munching on dark chocolate can make you full and energized.
10. Cures Cough
A small piece of dark choco can help control constant coughing due to its theobromine content. Nonetheless, it is better to seek medical aid if the cough continues for more than a week.
Proper Storage of Dark Chocolate
Keep in mind that the higher the flavonoid content, then the better the effects it has on one’s health. If dark chocolate is stored correctly, then it can last two years or more. When it comes to the storage of dark choco, here are a few pointers to be reminded of.
- Put it in an airtight bottle and place it in a dry and cool area.
- Do not place chocolate in the refrigerator as it may promote “blooming,” which is characterized by a white coating. This is due to the rising of sugar on the surface of the chocolate caused by an excess amount of moisture. The taste is not affected, but the appearance doesn’t look too appealing.
While it may be bitter, dark chocolate is loaded with a lot of health benefits. Skip the milk chocolate and try going dark for a change. You’re not only cutting off the amount of sugar but gaining a number of health benefits as well.