Running out of excuses to eat chocolate every day? Worry no more; you now have scientific evidence that proves dark chocolate is a superfood. In fact, cacao, an ingredient found in dark chocolate is packed with numerous antioxidants — actually more than found in green tea or red wine.
So just what is the smooth, silky low-down?
Firstly, let’s be clear it’s specifically dark chocolate, and a simple bite a day could:
Be good for your heart. Because it contains heart protective antioxidants called flavonols, dark chocolate has been shown to lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the heart and lower “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Improve brain function. These same flavonols assist with changing your brain wave frequency providing improvement in memory and symptoms of stress relief.
Phytonutrients (another name for flavonoids), act as antioxidants and may play a role in cancer prevention and weight loss.
Wait, what? Weight-loss?
Eating chocolate every day probably seems like the last way to lose weight, but research suggests eating a bit of dark chocolate before or after meals triggers hormones that signal to the brain you’re full, thus reducing your appetite and ensuring you eat less.
Amazingly findings also suggest that eating 48g of 70-percent dark chocolate each day may help lower fasting glucose levels and reduce insulin resistance thus lowering the risk of diabetes.
Insulin resistance causes high blood glucose (sugar) and is the hallmark of type 2 diabetes. By improving your body’s sensitivity to insulin, resistance is reduced, and in turn the risk of diseases like diabetes decreases.
This is sounding better and better by the minute, almost as good as savouring your first smooth block.
During digestion, chocolate behaves like a prebiotic (not to be confused with probiotic), a type of fiber that encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. The more “good” microbes are in your system, the better your body is able to absorb nutrients as well as support a healthy metabolism.
Dark chocolate may even send good cholesterol up, bad cholesterol down by lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and total cholesterol levels.
It’s also a great source of magnesium which has been dubbed “the original chill pill”.
Furthermore, several high levels of antioxidants in dark chocolate may protect skin from the powerful ultraviolet (UV) rays emitted by the sun.
Of course, not all chocolate is made equal. Dark chocolate with higher percentages of cacao solids typically contains less sugar but more fat. More cacao also means more flavanols, so it is best to choose dark chocolate that includes at least 70 percent cacao solids. Generally, 20–30g of dark chocolate per day is recommended.
Like many of the finer things in life, eating very dark chocolate can be an acquired taste. If you really don’t like 70%, start around 50% and work your way up. Each brand of chocolate is also processed differently; organic is always best because it’s grown without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Either way, there’s more than a slab of reasons to fill your mouth with a second helping.
Date Published: 19 July 2021