Have you ever heard someone saying that I never liked Chocolate? I bet you haven’t. These days health-conscious people are developing taste for Dark Chocolates due to the innumerable health benefits they offer.

Types of Chocolates (Varieties)

  • Dark chocolate
  • Semi-sweet chocolate
  • Sweet dark chocolate
  • Milk chocolate
  • White chocolate
  • Coverture chocolate
  • Gianduja chocolate
  • Candy coating chocolate

What is Dark Chocolate and how it is different from other Chocolates?

Also known as Bittersweet chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, or sweet dark chocolate; Dark chocolate is produced without milk solids added to it. It has a more distinct chocolate taste than milk chocolate because it does not contains milk which when mixed with chocolate tends to change its taste and character.

Due to the lack of milk additives, dark chocolate seems to be more of dry texture and often has a bitter aftertaste.

Main Ingredients of Dark Chocolate

  • Cacao beans
  • Sugar
  • Emulsifier
  • Flavorings

The cocoa content of dark chocolate bars can range between 30 to 80 percent giving it a semi-sweet to a little bitter taste and of course, its dark color.

Let me share some Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate with you!

Advantages and Health Benefits of Eating Dark Chocolate

  1. Anti-aging – Fights Free Radicals

Dark chocolate contains large amounts of flavonoids and is amongst the best sources of antioxidants that protect us from diseases by fighting free radicals in the body which are the major factor behind faster aging and diseases.

  1. Dark Chocolate is Nutritious

With high cocoa content, dark chocolates are more nutritious than its sweeter counterpart and contain a host of essential vitamins and minerals including Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc, Copper to name a few.

In half a cup of pure cocoa (the main ingredient of dark chocolate), you’ll get the following nutrients though the quantity is on a higher side and should not be consumed in one take:

  • Riboflavin – 6% of Recommended Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Niacin – 4% of RDI
  • Calcium – 5% of RDI
  • Iron – 33% of RDI
  • Magnesium – 53% of RDI
  • Phosphorous – 30% of RDI
  • Zinc – 40% of RDI
  • Copper – 80% of RDI
  • Manganese – 83% of RDI
  • Omega-6 fatty acids – 378mg
  • Caffeine – 99 mg
  • Theobromine – 880 mg
  • Other Antioxidants – NA

Remember, Dark chocolate also contains calories apart from nutrients and should be consumed in moderation.

  1. Dark Chocolate is a Stimulant

Believe me, if you are feeling sleepy or a bit fatigued, just grab a piece or two of  Dark Chocolate to get freshen up and boost your energy levels as it contains positive stimulants like ‘Theobromine’ that can relax your nervous system and pump-up your body energy levels.

Theobromine has a positive impact on the central nervous system, making you feel relaxed and stimulated and also acts as an aphrodisiac.

Another stimulant found in dark chocolate is ‘Phenylethylamine’, which boosts the release of dopamine in the brain and uplifts your mood by encouraging your brain to release feel-good ‘endorphins’.

  1. Fights Bad Cholesterol (LDL)

Dark Chocolate Raises High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol and Protects our body from Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol against Oxidation and hence is good for Heart health and overall system.

A recent study done on dark chocolate found that consuming it regularly in moderation helps in restoring flexibility in the arteries and prevents white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels and hence is considered good for cardiovascular health.

  1. Dark Chocolate for Glowing Skin

Dark Chocolate is good for skin health and can protect us from sun-induced damage by improving blood flow to the body organs, especially skin. Eating dark chocolate has been known to have a positive impact on skin cells and enhances skin mass and hydration.

  1. Maintains Healthy Blood Pressure

If you are suffering from high blood pressure, a bite of dark chocolate can improve blood flow in your body and bring blood pressure levels down.

The bioactive compounds found in cocoa may improve blood flow in the arteries and cause a small but significant decrease in blood pressure.

  1. Natural Aphrodisiac

Dark chocolate contains L-arginine, an amino acid that is known to be an effective natural ‘Aphrodisiac’; a sex enhancer for both women and men.

  1. Anti-inflammatory effects

Eating dark chocolate has an anti-inflammatory effect on our system and may help in reducing body inflammation.

Inflammation is an auto-response of the body’s natural immune system to disease-causing germs and bacteria (Pathogens), wounds, infections, chemicals, and other harmful substances.

If not treated and controlled, chronic inflammation can harm cells and tissues and may increase the risk of health conditions like type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and certain types of auto-immune disorders.

  1. Dark Chocolate for Cough

Theobromine, a compound found in cacao beans, the main ingredient of dark chocolate, soothes a part of your brain that triggers coughing and Scientists are developing medicine for coughs that are based on Theobromine.

It is also known to relax the bronchial muscles and has a soothing effect on the bronchial tract.

  1. Reduces Insulin resistance

Insulin resistance occurs when our body’s cells stop responding to the hormone insulin which further results in abnormally high levels of blood glucose, which can lead to pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.

A study found that eating around 48 grams of dark chocolate regularly have at least 70 percent Cocoa content may help lower fasting glucose levels and reduce insulin resistance.

The Takeaway

Choose quality dark chocolate with 60% or higher cocoa content. The darker the chocolate, the less sugar it will contain.

Dark Chocolate is one of the few foods that taste awesome and also provide significant health benefits.

Chocolates made from lots of milk solids and sugar is not recommended for obese people or for those who do not follow an active lifestyle. If you want to enjoy a chocolaty feast regularly you should remain physically active and remember dark chocolates with low sugar content are the best.