Chocolate is a usually sweet, brown food prepared with roasted and ground cacao seeds. It is made in the form of a liquid, paste, or in a block, or used as a flavoring ingredient in other foods. The earliest evidence of use can be traced to the Olmecs (Mexico), with evidence of chocolate beverages dating to 1900 BC. The majority of Mesoamerican people made chocolate beverages, including the Maya and Aztecs. Indeed, the word “chocolate” is derived from the Classical Nahuatl word chocolātl.
Chocolate is one of the major foods, consumed by most Nigerians without knowledge of the health benefits. Today I’m going to briefly educate you on the benefits of chocolate, and the more reason why you should consume chocolate daily; the following arev the benefits of chocolate:
If you buy quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, then it is actually quite nutritious.
It contains a decent amount of soluble fiber and is loaded with minerals.
A 100-gram bar of dark chocolate with 70–85% cocoa contains (1):
- 11 grams of fiber
- 67% of the RDI for iron
- 58% of the RDI for magnesium
- 89% of the RDI for copper
- 98% of the RDI for manganese
- It also has plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium
Of course, 100 grams (3.5 ounces) is a fairly large amount and not something you should be consuming daily. All these nutrients also come with 600 calories and moderate amounts of sugar.
For this reason, dark chocolate is best consumed in moderation.
The fatty acid profile of cocoa and dark chocolate is also excellent. The fats are mostly saturated and monounsaturated, with small amounts of polyunsaturated fat.
It also contains stimulants like caffeine and theobromine, but is unlikely to keep you awake at night as the amount of caffeine is very small compared to coffee.
2.Improve blood flow and lower blood pressure.
The flavanols in dark chocolate can stimulate the endothelium, the lining of arteries, to produce nitric oxide (NO). One of the functions of NO is to send signals to the arteries to relax, which lowers the resistance to blood flow and therefore reduces blood pressure.
Many controlled studies show that cocoa and dark chocolate can improve blood flow and lower blood pressure, though the effects are usually mild.
However, one study in people with high blood pressure showed no effect, so take all this with a grain of salt.
3.It helps protect your skin.
Research shows that the flavonoids in dark chocolate help absorb UV light, increase blood flow to the skin, improve skin texture, and increase skin hydration. “High-quality dark chocolate is rich in flavanols, which fight inflammation and oxidative stress, explaining why they may be helpful for promoting more healthful skin,” says Kelly. “While research shows that regular consumption of flavanol-rich chocolate may help protect the skin against harmful UV light, you shouldn’t use this as an excuse to eat tons of chocolate and skip the sunscreen.”
4.Chocolate lowers the risk of heart disease.
Consuming cocoa and cocoa-containing foods in moderation have been linked to improved cardiovascular health due to their high content of flavanols, which have vasodilatory, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory benefits. Cocoa can increase the production and availability of endothelial nitric oxide, a substance that promotes dilation of the blood vessels, helping to improve cardiovascular function. In addition to helping to lower blood pressure, it lowers the risk of blood clots and lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol. Lowering blood pressure and LDL cholesterol are two risk factors that would lead to heart disease by managing them, the risk of heart disease decreases.
5.It improves mood.
Chocolate can improve your mood, especially in high-pressure or stressful situations. In a research conducted, several participants were asked to complete serial subtraction tasks of threes and sevens (counting down by 3s and 7s), and a rapid visual information-processing task to test sustained attention. Those who consumed cocoa flavanol drinks prior to the trial had overall better cognitive performance and reported less mental fatigue than the control group.
6.It helps reduce fatigue.
If you suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome you should try adding chocolate to your daily diet. One group of sufferers were given a daily dose of chocolate for two months. They were less tired and the best news of all is that they did not put on any extra weight.
By Paul Utebor