The antioxidants in dark chocolate are responsible for its many health benefits. Learn more about dark chocolate health and how it can help you improve your body and brain.
Antioxidants in dark chocolate are a popular topic
Looking up chocolate on the internet today gives so many results about antioxidants in dark chocolate and how they
are very healthy for the body. But what exactly does this mean? Dark chocolate is teeming with flavanols, antioxidants that have been shown in several medical studies to offer protection to the vascular system, heart and brain. As more and more studies associate a growing number of dark chocolate benefits for men and women to its high antioxidant content, chocolate has truly become a celebrity food.
What are Antioxidants in Dark Chocolate?
Antioxidants are plant compounds that researchers believe aid in fighting the cell damage caused by too much free radicals in the body. There are so many kinds of antioxidants and they are abundant in plant-based foods. Antioxidants are believed to decrease the risk of certain diseases, including heart conditions. In fact, a 2010 Harvard study showed a 32 percent reduction in the risk of heart failure development among women who consumed one to three servings of dark chocolate with 30 percent cocoa content every month. However, it is important to note that increased servings were shown to have a detrimental effect on overall health.
What are Flavonoids in Dark Chocolate?
Flavonoids are antioxidant compounds that are found in chocolate. The specific kind of flavonoids found in chocolate are known as flavanols. It is these that give the pungent taste to cocoa. Flavanols have been shown to be effective in scavenging free radicals and increasing antioxidant activity in blood cells while decreasing DNA damage, or the oxidation of certain cells. Several intervention studies have demonstrated that consuming flavanol-containing chocolate and cocoa products can improve cardiovascular system function, so platelet are less likely to form clots, and lower blood pressure.
What are the Benefits of Dark Chocolate?
Research into the benefits of flavanoids has shown a positive influence in lowering the blood pressure, decreasing blood clotting and improving blood flow to the brain and heart. This means that flavanols might be an important part of maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system, for as long as you know which chocolate is healthiest. A 2010 German study showed that modest intake of chocolate among men appeared to decreased blood pressure. Also, another 2009 Oxford University study on the effects of flavonoids on memory, showed that modest amounts of antioxidant in dark chocolate health consumption appeared to improve cognitive abilities.
Chocolate has a high amount of calories. It also contains significant amounts of sugar and fat, which can contribute to weight, eliminating the antioxidant dark chocolate health benefits. Moderation is key to enjoying the numerous healthy benefits of chocolate. Look for high quality dark chocolate that contains at least 70 percent cocoa. Also know that the kind of cocoa used dictates flavonol content. Cocoa that has gone through the Dutch process will have a lower amount of flavanols compared to non-processed cocoa.