Important Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate

Although dark chocolate has been much aligned — whether as a cause for cavities or a reason for acne — there is good news for chocolate lovers. Recent research has shown that certain types of chocolate might be good for you, when you eat in moderation. Derived from beans that grow in pods, chocolate was first introduced in Central and South America where the plants originated. From here, it was introduced to equatorial regions, including the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, Africa and the South Pacific.

Dark Chocolate Is Good For The Health

Dark chocolate contains high levels of polyphenols called flavanoids. Flavanoids are naturally occurring substances chocolate-183543_640that are found in plant-based foods. Other food items rich in flavanoids include fruits like apples and cranberries; tea; vegetables like asparagus, onions and spinach; and red wine. Like other polyphenols, flavanoids are examples of antioxidants, which are substances that can prevent damage to body cells and repair existing cell damage.

Chocolate comes in various types. The three main types are dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate. Dark chocolate possess the highest amount of cocoa solids (which can be up to 75%). Milk chocolate is chocolate that has been combined with milk, and contains up to 20% of cocoa solids. White chocolate is derived from sweetened cocoa butter mixed with milk solids. It does not have any cocoa solids. Dark chocolate is the type of chocolate most often associated with health benefits. It has the most flavanoids among the various types of chocolate, as research has shown that processing removes flavanoids from healthy chocolate.

Dark Chocolate Can Help Fight Heart Diseases

Research from the University of California-Davis indicates that the high amount of flavanoids found in dark chocolate can help lower the risk of heart disease. Flavanoids in chocolate help prevent fatty substances in the blood from oxidizing and clogging arteries. One study published in Nature indicated that the antioxidant properties of chocolate help combat the free radicals associated with heart disease and related health problems. One study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that a diet supplemented with dark chocolate let to minor reductions in LDL (bad cholesterol) levels, a condition that can lead to a reduction in clogged arteries.

A research published in the Journal of the American Medical Associated indicated that dark chocolate lowers blood pressure. One separate study in the Netherlands showed that men who regularly ate cocoa products had lower blood pressure and were less likely to die from heart disease then those who did no regularly consume chocolate products. Other research showed that flavanoids help arteries remain flexible. There is another specific study indicating that chocolate has a quality similar to that of aspirin that helps prevent blood clots.

Eat The Right Kind Of Dark Chocolate

Although chocolate has been shown to help prevent heart disease, this does not mean that you can eat chocolate with abandon. Because dark chocolate is a high calorie food that is rich in saturated fat, it should be eaten in moderation. Of course, you also need to make sure that you eat the healthy kind of chocolate, which is dark chocolate that contains the highest possible amounts of cocoa solids.

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