Dark Chocolates | 20 Things You Don’t Know About Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate lowers the blood pressure. The flavanols in dark chocolate produce nitric oxide that stimulates the artery linings to relax and reduce resistance to blood flow.

Benefits Of Dark Chocolate

  1. The scientific name of the cacao tree is “Theobroma cacao” meaning “Food of the Gods.” In the olden days, the cacao seeds are made into a paste with water, and flavorful spices are added to make the unsweetened chocolate drink. Cacao and chocolate were an essential part of Maya culture (Guatemala).
  2. The Aztecs(Mexican god) believed that cacao seeds were the gift of Quetzalcoatl(feathered serpent), the god of wisdom, and the seeds once had so much value that they were used as a form of currency. Originally prepared only as a drink, chocolate was served as a bitter, from a liquid, mixed with spices or corn puree.
  3. A 100-gram bar of dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa contains:
    • 11 grams of fibre
  4. • 67% of the RDA for Iron,
    • 58% of the RDA for Magnesium,
    • 89% of the RDA for Copper,
    • 98% of the RDA for Manganese.
    It also has plenty of potassium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, and selenium.
  5. Dark chocolate is made from raw cacao beans which are a rich source of Flavanols, a sub-category of larger group Phytochemicals known as Flavanoids. The European Food Safety Authority has approved that some specially processed dark chocolate, cocoa extracts and drinks containing 200mg of flavanols contribute to the healthy blood circulation by helping to maintain blood vessel elasticity.
  6. Heart disease rates were low in France despite the high diet in saturated fats because there was relatively high consumption of flavanols. Flavanols are a group of compounds found in red wine, tea, and cocoa, which at high doses prevents cellular damage.
  7. US researchers concluded that Kuna people, off the coast of Panama, had low blood pressure and rates of cardiovascular disease because they drank more than five cups of flavanols rich cocoa per day.
  8. Dark chocolate is good for heart & blood circulation. As per the sources, it was found that dark chocolate assists in restoring the flexibility of arteries and also preventing white blood cells from sticking blood vessels walls which are both common reasons of artery clogging.
  9. The antioxidant profile of dark chocolate is more powerful than Acai berries, Blueberries and Cranberries. Chocolate contains antioxidants called flavanols, which protect the skin from sun damage. However, the amount of flavanols varies significantly among different types of chocolate. One study showed that high-flavanol dark chocolate doubled the number of time people could stay in the sun before turning red, experienced better blood flow to the skin and improves skin hydration, smoothness and diminish wrinkles.
  10. Phenethylamine (PEA) is organic, natural monoamine alkaloid with a trace amine acts as a central nervous system stimulant in humans. It functions as a monoaminergic neuromodulator in the human central nervous system. Chocolate and other cocoa-based foods contain phenylethylamine that makes an individual feel better by the inspiring brain to release “feel good endorphins.”
  11. Luscious dark chocolate from the cacao plant is rich in flavonoids and antioxidants. Antioxidants protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable oxygen molecules thought to be responsible for aging and some diseases. When there are free radicals in our body, they start to attack the cells, leading to low-grade inflammation and diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. Hence eating dark chocolate can revive from such problems.
  12. A study shows, participants ate less junk food after eating dark chocolate, but the same did not happen with milk chocolate. Milk chocolate contains more saturated fat which is linked to higher cholesterol levels. However, White chocolate is actually not chocolate at all; it is a high-calorie confection, made without cocoa, so it doesn’t contain any of the possible health benefits.
  13. Another small study showed food intake following dark chocolate consumption was significantly lower than when eating milk or white chocolate.
  14. Researchers from the University of Reading in England tested the eyesight of 30 healthy adults (18 to 25) years old after they ate white and dark chocolates. The section performed better on vision tests after eating the dark chocolate. It is the flavanols in dark chocolate, which improve blood flow to the brain, improve blood flow to the retina as well. Whereas the white chocolate doesn’t have nearly the same amount of flavanols as dark chocolate.
  15. Research supports the idea that chocolate really can really boost your mood. It’s the fatty acids that do the magic, and dark chocolate contains two saturated fatty acids — palmitic and stearic acids along with its health-boosting flavonoids. Chocolate, in particular, can make you feel happy and improve your mood. The theory is that chocolate stimulates the neural activity in the regions of the brain associated with pleasure and reward.
  16. The compounds in dark chocolate appear to be highly protective against the oxidation of LDL. In the long term, this should cause much less cholesterol to lodge in the arteries, and we should see a lower risk of heart disease.
  17. It lowers the blood pressure. The flavanols in dark chocolate produce nitric oxide that stimulates the artery linings to relax and reduce resistance to blood flow.
  18. Of the many flavonoids in chocolate, two, in particular, epicatechin and quercetin, are believed to possess the cancer-fighting properties. Dark chocolate plays a role in cancer prevention. Evidence shows that people who eat many flavonoids or antioxidant-rich chocolate, develop fewer cancers than those who don’t consume them.
  19. Dark chocolate 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. Exercise capacity is increased when consuming dark chocolate.
  20. Cocoa butter contains oleic acid, which is a monounsaturated fat; the same fat you find in heart-healthy olive oil. It lowers the susceptibility of LDL (Low-density lipoprotein) to oxidative damage while increasing HDL (High-density lipoprotein) and improving insulin sensitivity.
  21. About two-thirds of the world’s cocoa is produced in Western Africa. Ivory Coast is the largest source, yielding a total crop of 1,448,992 tonnes. Ghana, Nigeria, and Cameroon are other West African countries among the top 5 cocoa producing countries in the world. 

After knowing these facts, it is obvious that dark chocolate would work wonders if replaced from sweets. Remember, the higher the cocoa content, the higher the flavanol content, the higher the bitterness, the higher the benefits. Let’s include chocolate in our daily diet, and this time we knew which chocolate to buy for kids.

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By-Vaghna Akkaraboina

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