Who doesn’t love a good bite of chocolate? It is the ultimate comfort food no matter where you live in this world. Among the stories flying around the internet about chocolates, the health benefits of dark Chocolate have got the attention of anyone. If you are someone who wants to capitalize on dark chocolate benefits by eating as much as you can, hold on for a moment and read this article.
It is true that many health websites are churning out stories about dark chocolates every now and then. Well, who wouldn’t love that? The real question here is – how much truth is there in the claim that dark chocolate can lower blood pressure or improve brain activity or even reduce cardiovascular diseases? Before we start following this blindly, let’s find out about more about the actual evidence to this claim.
What do we know about dark chocolates
There are certain things already proven beyond dispute when it comes to dark chocolates. Most of the dark chocolate benefits have been attributed to its main ingredient – cocoa. This is what makes a dark chocolate dark. One thing that was already established by researchers is that cocoa has great antioxidant properties. Also, the flavonoids in cocoa have anti-inflammatory properties. The whole health craze about dark chocolates may have originated here.
Antioxidants: Is dark chocolate the best source?
Before we discuss the issue of dark chocolate benefits, we must answer an important question – what are antioxidants? To put it simply, antioxidants are substances that prevent cell damage in our body. Our body produces a lot of oxidizing agents (free radicals) as a defense mechanism against pathogens invading the body. When produced excessively, these particles start attacking the cells in our own body. The main use of antioxidants is to prevent this from happening. So, now you get the idea.
Moving on, we must know whether dark chocolate is the best source of antioxidants. There is no denying that dark chocolate is one of the sources of antioxidants (not the only one). The problem, however, is that not all dark chocolates have flavonoids equally distributed in them. The end result you wish to have may not be completely achieved here. This does not mean that dark chocolates are completely useless. In any case, dark chocolates are way better than ‘milk chocolates’ that contain too much sugar.
If antioxidants are your prime focus among the many dark chocolate benefits, it is worth noting that there are many other ways in which you can get your antioxidants. For instance, walnuts, kidney beans, broccoli, raisins, etc. are much better sources of antioxidants.
Dark chocolates for weight loss?
Nowadays, it is very common to find lifestyle articles with the claim that dark chocolates can even be used for weight loss. To be honest, there is no conclusive research proof to this claim till date. Most dieticians and researchers believe that dark chocolate does not contribute much towards weight loss. When certain websites publish these unconfirmed stories about dark chocolate benefits, people get the wrong idea and start munching on them as much as they can. These people might be in for a bitter disappointment.
The antioxidant properties of dark chocolate may prevent you from overeating and aid you with weight loss. However, dark chocolate is not some magic food that will help you lose weight dramatically. The key to weight loss lies in creating a calorie deficit based on your daily intake and workout level. You cannot cut down weight simply by eating dark chocolates. Also, most of the dark chocolates available in the market have added sugar to tone down the bitter taste of cocoa. This might, in fact, have a negative effect on your weight loss plan.
Actual health benefits of dark chocolate
This is not an article written with the sole focus of bashing dark chocolates. In fact, I do love dark chocolates and have them whenever I can. When you buy dark chocolates, make sure that it has cocoa levels as high as possible. I normally buy dark chocolates that have at least 70% cocoa in them. You can also buy 85% cocoa dark chocolates if available in the market. With the higher percentage of cocoa, you increase the chance of consuming flavonoids which I have mentioned above. Some of the benefits commonly attributed to dark chocolates can be listed as follows:
- Moderation of insulin
- Reduction of cortisol levels
- Moderate of appetite
- Reduction of stress levels
- Improvement of metabolism
While there are better foods that provide the above-mentioned benefits, dark chocolate might very well be the only comfort food that comes with these benefits. Having a little bit of dark chocolate could prevent your craving for other comfort foods that have harmful effects.
Moderation is the key
When you have dark chocolates, remember that moderation is the key. A 45-gram bar I consume has about 240 calories. This means that you must sacrifice a considerable portion of your other meals in order to balance your daily calorie intake. If you eat in moderation, you can catch a glimpse of the above mentioned dark chocolate benefits. However, excessive eating will make things worse and create many health hazards. It will be the exact opposite of what you wish to achieve.
To sum up
As I noted earlier, there are plenty of myths floating around the internet about dark chocolate these days. Some articles might even hype it up to the extent of making dark chocolate as an absolute elixir that could treat any disorder. Actual scientific proof of dark chocolate benefits is extremely limited. Bear this in mind when you decide to treat yourself to a dark chocolate snack next time. Limit your indulgences to a few times a week and consume in moderation to enjoy better results.
The post Dark chocolate benefits: myths or facts? appeared first on GK Samurai.