What is the one thing which can instantly bring a smile to your face? For many people, it is a taste of chocolate in any form.
Chocolates are made from cocoa. According to Healthline, cocoa beans are enriched with antioxidants and minerals. The type of chocolate depends on the amount concentration of cocoa which converts them into white, milk and dark chocolates. Commercial milk chocolates contain cocoa butter, sugar, milk, and small quantities of cocoa. On the other hand, dark chocolate has much larger amounts of cocoa and less sugar than milk chocolate making it a better health alternative.
Dark chocolates have been in use since 2000 BC. Earlier, it was consumed as a bitter beverage mixed with spices and wine but the way of consumption has evolved over time. Today, you can find them in cube forms, beverages and other food items.
Many scientific researchers have claimed the health benefits of dark chocolates. Dr Vaishali Verma, consultant dietitian and diabetes educator says, “Cocoa is one of the richest sources of polyphenols. It’s especially abundant in flavanols, which have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.”
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This World Chocolate Day, let us explore the benefits of dark chocolate-
Reduces blood pressure: The compound, named flavonols present in cocoa, helps to improve nitric oxide levels in the blood. This can improve the functioning of your blood vessels and reduce blood pressure.
Improves your mood: The positive effects on mood may be due to cocoa’s flavanols. The conversion of tryptophan to the natural mood stabiliser serotonin, its caffeine content or simply the sensory pleasure of eating chocolate.
Reduces the risk of neurodegenerative disease: Polyphenols Improve Blood Flow to Your Brain and Brain Function Several studies have found that polyphenols, such as those in cocoa, may reduce your risk of neurodegenerative diseases by improving brain function and blood flow.
Improves brain health: Flavanols can cross the blood-brain barrier and are involved in the biochemical pathways that produce neurons and important molecules for the function of your brain.
Can make you happy: Consuming dark chocolates in an accurate amount also boosts your mood and makes you feel happy. By producing a happy hormone known as endorphin.
Consuming chocolates more than a need can also show negative effects on the body. One may experience obesity and insulin resistance. Dr Vaishali explains, “the perfect recommendation is 15 -20 grams, per day. an individual must consume it in dividing portions, throughout the day for maximum benefit. For example, you can have one cube of chocolate at one time."