Some myths say that chocolate has many benefits for the body. One of the most commonly heard myths is that chocolate can improve heart health.
One good type of chocolate is dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains many nutrients that are beneficial to health. Chocolate is made from cocoa beans which is one of the best sources of antioxidants. Research shows that dark chocolate can improve health and reduce the risk of heart disease.
What are the nutrients contained in dark chocolate?
Quality chocolate contains high cocoa. A piece of 100 grams of dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa content contains:
- 11 grams of fiber
- Other nutrients contained are potassium, phosphorus, zinc, calcium, vitamin K, and selenium
Chocolate also contains 600 calories and sugar in moderate amounts. The fatty acids contained in cocoa are very good for the body. Caffeine and theobromine are also present in chocolate. However, the caffeine content in chocolate is very small, so it does not give the effect of difficulty in sleeping or maybe insomnia.
One of the best benefits of chocolate is its ability to ward off free radicals. Antioxidants are compounds that are able to neutralize free radicals and protect the body from damage. Two antioxidant compounds contained in dark chocolate are polyphenols and flavonoids.
Based on research, good antioxidant properties in chocolate can prevent cancer. But there are still needs a lot of research to confirm it.
Improve Heart Health
Flavanol is one type of flavonoids contained in dark chocolate, and according to the studies, flavanols can have a positive effect on heart health. Flavanols are known to help lower blood pressure and increase blood flow to the heart and brain. Flavanols in dark chocolate may also reduce the risk of blood clots and strokes.
Fixing Total Cholesterol Profile
The content of polyphenols in chocolate can control cholesterol. Eating black chocolate for three weeks can increase HDL or good cholesterol. Consuming dark chocolate with a rich content of polyphenols for 15 days can help lower total cholesterol by 6.5% and LDL or bad cholesterol by 7.5%. Consuming the usual black chocolate can lower 6% LDL levels and increase HDL by 9%.
Improves Cognitive Function
Dark chocolate can help to improve focus and memory. The content of flavonoids in chocolate can improve cognitive ability especially for the elderly. Cocoa also contains theobromine and caffeine which has properties as a stimulant that can improve brain function.
Increase Blood Flow and Reduce Blood Pressure
Flavanols in dark chocolate can lower blood flow and reduce blood pressure. In one study stated that chocolate and dark chocolate can lower blood flow and lower blood pressure but in a mild stage.
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