Chocolate has loved the world over. However, chocolate is known for being high in calories and sugar. So is it wrong for the health? Is dark chocolate good for weight loss? What about 70% and 90% dark chocolate, do they have health benefits if the press rings true?
Why Is Dark Chocolate Good For You?
Before we begin, we have to settle one of the oldest questions about dark chocolate in general: is dark chocolate vegan? And the answer is yes, dark chocolate is one of the most vegan-friendly food items you can find, and because of this, vegans can ethically consume dark chocolate if they wanted to. If you’re going to stick to the principles of veganism, it is essential to check the label carefully before buying and consuming dark chocolate.
If you see ingredients like milk, casein, lactose, or even whey, you may want to put back the dark chocolate because these are all derived from cow’s milk, which is an animal product. Another indicator that there are animal products in the dark chocolate is if there is even 1% cholesterol in the nutritional information. Only animal-derived ingredients contain cholesterol.
With these out of the way, let’s proceed to figure out why dark chocolate is good for the body and when is the best time to eat dark chocolate, and if there are any side effects of dark chocolate (if any).
The Benefits of Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate has long been lauded as a superfood in its own right because it is full of flavanols. Flavanols are present in high concentrations in different cocoa-based productions and reliable chocolate products. The more pure cocoa there is in a food item, the higher the level of flavanols. This family of antioxidants includes compounds like catechin and gallates. Antioxidants are also present in natural and beneficial beverages like green tea and black tea. What is truly interesting about the antioxidants found in cocoa or chocolate is they are already readily absorbable by the body.
Dark chocolate is heart-healthy
If you love your heart but still want to satisfy your craving for desserts, we recommend going for dark chocolate instead of other sugary treats. It may not be as sweet as candy and milk chocolate, but at least you will still be obtaining the classic chocolate flavor that the world loves. Also, as we have discussed before, dark chocolate logically has the highest level of flavanols compared to other chocolate-containing products because it has 70%-90% cocoa content.
So if the question is which type of dark chocolate is more beneficial, then we would have to answer that it is the dark chocolate with the highest level of cocoa. Not all brands of dark chocolate are equal in cocoa content.
Some have 75% cocoa, while others have 85% cocoa or even 90%. Again, be sure to check the label of what you are buying to ascertain how much actual cocoa you are getting.
It is healthy for the heart due to the flavanols to reduce cellular damage and also reduces the inflammation of bodily tissues.
As you may already know, heart issues often arise due to prolonged or chronic inflammation, especially the swelling of blood vessels. One study revealed that regularly consuming small quantities of dark chocolate over a long period can reduce the chances of developing a heart attack (myocardial infarct) or stroke by a whopping 40%.
Remember: if you want this particular benefit, the cocoa content of the dark chocolate you are eating has to be at least 70% cocoa, and not less.
Better moods and better cognitive function
Cognitive function refers to different mental abilities that make people functional and healthy throughout their days. Our cognitive functions vary from person to person, and there are times, especially as we age, that this deteriorates for one reason or another.
The good news here is that dark chocolate improves both mood and cognitive levels in people who eat dark chocolate correctly.
How is dark chocolate able to do this? Science doesn’t know yet fully, but there is a new theory that dark chocolate is capable of increasing a specific type of neural activity that touches the centers of pleasure and reward in the brain. You are getting a mood boost each time you eat dark chocolate, and your brain lights up in response (in a positive way).
Again, this specific benefit has been linked to the flavanols or the antioxidants in dark chocolate. Since there are many of these antioxidants in dark chocolate, it accumulates in amounts in the body that cause positive benefits to emerge in different tissues and organs – including the brain. To obtain this benefit, you have to consume about 1.5 ounces of 70% dark chocolate regularly.
Dark chocolate may help people with diabetes with insulin resistance
This is another surprising benefit that may shock some people because it is common for people to hear that chocolate, in general, is terrible for people with diabetes.
What should be noted here is that not all chocolate is plied with large quantities of carbohydrates or sugars, so it’s not true that people with diabetes can’t eat chocolate. It is believed that dark chocolate reduces insulin resistance by reducing inflammation in the body. One study showed that individuals who didn’t eat dark chocolate had a higher risk of developing type 2 or adult-onset diabetes compared to folks who did.
Dark chocolate can help you reach your fitness or weight loss goals
When you eat dark chocolate, the cocoa triggers a reaction in the brain that tells it that you are full. This chemical signal can help reduce your appetite and consequently help you cut down the caloric intake without suffering too much in the process. Because let’s face it: it’s hard to diet and lose weight. And if you know what you are consuming when you don’t eat dark chocolate, then you are safe with consuming dark chocolate regularly.