Linking Dark Chocolate to Health

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Since I have the type II diabetes, sugar is something I have to avoid. Hear here and there about dark chocolate, it seems a nice treat for me. Dig a little bit and found this information.

Dark chocolate is made from the seed of the cocoa tree. It is full of nutrients, and one of the best sources of antioxidants. Studies show “dark” chocolate may improve health and lower the risk of heart disease. Nothing about diabetes yet.

1. Dark Chocolate is Very Nutritious

The quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content is very nutritious. A 100 gram of dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa provides 11 grams of soluble fiber, 67% of the RDA for Iron, 58% of the RDA for Magnesium, 89% of the RDA for Copper, 98% of the RDA for Manganese, and plenty of minerals (potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium), as well as 600 calories of sugar. Others contents in dark chocolate are saturated and monounsaturated fat, small amounts of polyunsaturated and caffeine.

Note: RDA, which is Recommended Dietary Allowance.

2. Dark Chocolate is a Powerful Source of Antioxidants

Dark chocolate is loaded with organic compounds; include polyphenols, flavanols, catechins, and others, which are antioxidants. Dark chocolate has more antioxidants than other food sources like blueberries and Acai berries.

3. Dark Chocolate May Improve Blood Flow and Lower Blood Pressure

The flavanols in cocoa may improve blood flow in the arteries by stimulating the endothelium, and reduces blood pressure.

4. Dark Chocolate Raises HDL and Protects LDL against Oxidation

The compounds in dark chocolate from cocoa was found to significantly decrease oxidized LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol), and increased HDL in men. Dark chocolate lowers the susceptibility of LDL to oxidative damage while increasing HDL and improving insulin sensitivity. Consuming dark chocolate may also reduce insulin resistance to improve many diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

5. Dark Chocolate May Lower the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

The cocoa compounds are found to be significantly protected to fight off the oxidation of LDL. An over 15-year study with 470 elderly men, cocoa was found to drastically lower the risk of cardiovascular death by 50%. Another study have shown that consuming dark chocolate twice or more times per week may lowered the risk of having calcified plaque in the arteries by 32%, vise versa. There’s also a study showed more than 5 times per week may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by 57%. Yet more studies need to do further research/experiments with larger group of people involvement.

6. Dark Chocolate May Protect Your Skin Against The Sun

Studies show that the flavanols in cocoa may improve blood flow to the skin to protect it against sun-induced damage, and to increase skin density and hydration.

7. Dark Chocolate May Improve Brain Function

Dark chocolate with high-flavanol cocoa may also improve blood flow in your brain to promote its functions in the short term as caffeine does. Studies show the significantly improve cognitive function in elder people who has mental impairment. Flavanol may also improves verbal fluency and other risk factors for disease.

Conclusion

Cocoa in dark chocolate could have powerful health benefits. However, this cannot be the reason for everyone to consume lots of chocolate every day. Choose quality organic dark chocolate with 70% or higher cocoa content. Usually the darker the chocolate, the less sugar it contains. The most important rules are balance your diet, exercise daily, and consult with your family doctor.

Reference: Health Line

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