Whether you are interested in dark chocolate nutrition or dark chocolate calories, we have everything for you in today’s special report on why dark chocolate is good for you. We’ll also tackle the best time to eat dark chocolate and the benefits of dark chocolate for men.
Dark chocolate is composed of cocoa butter, cocoa solids, but without the bulk of the dairy component found in milk chocolate. Due to its composition, dark chocolate tends to be slightly bitterer than milk chocolate, but it does possess a higher volume of trace nutrients (the good stuff) that made cocoa or chocolate famous in the first place. Across global regions, the definition of dark chocolate is as well as the composition of specific dark chocolate products vary, so what you will get in Switzerland may differ slightly from what is produced in the United States. Either way, you are still consuming processed cocoa, or it is suitable for your body if you only knew how nutrient-dense it truly is.
Dark Chocolate Benefits
Dark chocolate is one of the most nutrient-dense foods around, and it is a superfood in its own right. Regular consumption of dark chocolate also provides significant benefits for men, as you will see in our rundown of the major health benefits of dark chocolate.
- Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants – Antioxidants are naturally occurring chemical compounds that fight premature cellular aging by freeing cells of free radicals. Free radicals are metabolic byproducts that can damage the body if they are allowed to stay inside longer. Antioxidants prevent free radicals from damaging individual cells. This translates to better health overall for people who can consume more antioxidants in their diet. Since dark chocolate is easy to consume and widely available, people can easily consume the right amount daily to partake in naturally occurring antioxidants. With the right amount of antioxidants, people can avoid chronic conditions such as various heart ailments, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and so much. Chronic, degenerative diseases are often linked to the accumulate damage of cellular walls and the development of plaques in certain tissues.
- Dark chocolate takes care of the heart – Flavanols in dark chocolate have been studied extensively because of their time-reversing qualities and their ability to reduce damaging inflammation present in different tissues and organs of the body. The heart, particularly, takes damage over a long period of inflammation.
Flavanols encourage the production of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide positively affects the body: it helps open up the blood vessels. When blood vessels are wider, they allow passage of blood at less pressure, so the person’s blood pressure is lower. It has been found that people who regularly consumed about 25 grams of dark chocolate for two months had lower blood pressure than those who did not. The test group consumed white chocolate, while the leading group of respondents ate only dark chocolate.
- Dark chocolate helps alleviate high cholesterol levels – In addition to encouraging the production of nitric oxide, dark chocolate also helps reduce LDL or harmful cholesterol levels in the body. This healthy impact may be due to the theobromine and natural antioxidants that are naturally present in cocoa. Dark chocolate has a double-edged effect on cholesterol: it helps lower bad cholesterol while increasing proper cholesterol levels.
On the whole, dark chocolate’s anti-inflammatory effect benefits different kinds of people, from those with pre-existing metabolic conditions to healthy people who would like to improve their physical conditions further. Controlling inflammation helps people suffering from type 2 diabetes and even cancer.
- Dark chocolate helps defeat insulin resistance – Insulin resistance is a big problem for people with type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, dark chocolate appears to be spot on with reducing its incidence and effect in the body. A medical study that focused on the effects of regular consumption of dark chocolate of fasting blood glucose levels revealed that people who regularly ate dark chocolate (at least 70% dark chocolate) had significantly lower fasting blood glucose levels.
- Dark chocolate improves brain function – Struggling with memory problems, or staying sharp, in general? Eating some dark chocolate may help with that. Studies show that there is a positive correlation between brain function, cognition, and eating dark chocolate. So don’t feel guilty anymore when you are reaching for chocolate when you need to do some brain work. Your brain may be telling you that it needs a little chocolate to function better.
Dark Chocolate Nutrition
The Harvard School of Public Health commends dark chocolate as a “treasured food” that is packed with vital nutrients. Dark chocolate is naturally rich in essential nutrients that are necessary for healthy development and metabolism. With today’s diet going sideways because of the amount of processed food and fast food people are consuming, it is nice to know that you can still get a lot of nutrition from something as simple as dark chocolate. Dark chocolate naturally contains iron, manganese, phosphorous, flavonols, and other essential nutrients that you will be glad you have, especially if you are trying to be healthier on the whole.
We recommend that you get 70% dark chocolate or higher, if you can, and store the dark chocolate somewhere cool and away from light. The proper storage of chocolate will mean you can have your dark chocolate in storage for a maximum of two years. How much should you consume per day? As we have mentioned earlier, 25 grams of dark chocolate per day appears to be helpful in reducing inflammation in the body, as well as blood pressure. Twenty-five grams of dark chocolate is about 100 calories. This is a nutrient-dense food type that should be consumed in moderation as it also packs quite the punch when it comes to calories.