Chocolate is one of the most loved foods in the world. Well, if eaten in moderation, and especially if you choose a dark chocolate with a high cocoa content and no milk and added sugars, it can bring great health benefits.
In this article we will tell you about the benefits of dark chocolate , to the delight of gourmands.
The benefits of cocoa are linked to the compounds present in the bean, which include epicatechin, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. In addition, resveratrol is also present, known for its neuroprotective effects.
It is pure cocoa that has the benefits we are talking about when we say that dark chocolate is good for you. Considering that it has a very bitter taste, you need to add the least amount of sugar possible, in order to really exploit the benefits of dark chocolate.
- Cocoa plant: refers to the plant, a small evergreen tree of the Theobroma cacao species and its dried seeds.
- Cocoa: refers to roasted, ground cocoa powder that eliminates most of the fat.
- Cocoa Butter: The fatty compound of cocoa beans.
- Chocolate: solid cake obtained from a preparation of roasted cocoa beans.
- White chocolate: does not contain cocoa. It is mainly a mixture of pasteurized milk and sugar.
Components of chocolate
- Healthy fats
- Nitrogen compounds: including proteins, methylxanthines, theobromine and caffeine (central nervous system stimulants, diuretics and smooth muscle relaxants. Theobromine is the ingredient that can cause stomach pain in some people; it also reduces persistent cough by decreasing the vagus nerve activity.
- Minerals, such as potassium, phosphorus, copper, iron, zinc and magnesium.
- Valeric acid (which reduces stress levels despite the presence of stimulants).
Benefits of chocolate
The benefits of cocoa are linked to the compounds of natural origin present in the cocoa bean. We have epicatechin (a flavonoid) and resveratrol. The former has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and protects nerve cells.
The resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant known for its neuroprotective effects. It has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier which allows it to regulate inflammation of the central nervous system. This is important because the central nervous system plays a decisive role in the development of neurodegenerative diseases.
Cocoa contains around 380 known chemicals, 10 of which are psychoactive compounds. Cocoa contains more phenolics and antioxidant properties than green tea, black tea or red wine.
The phenolic compounds of cocoa can protect against diseases whose causes are oxidative stress, such as cancer. They also have antiproliferative, antimutagenic and chemoprotective effects, as well as anticaryogenic effects.
- Anti-inflammatory: reduces 17% of the C-reactive protein
- Antithrombotic: improves endothelial function
- Neuroprotector: consuming it reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s
- Slows the progress of periodontitis
- Improves the condition of the skin and protects against UV rays
- It helps to have more stamina by exercising
- It protects pregnant women from preeclampsia
- Improves the intestinal flora
- Protects vision, reduces the symptoms of glaucoma and cataracts caused by diabetes
- Effects against obesity, probably due to the ability of polyphenols to suppress the synthesis of fatty acids while promoting the consumption of energy in cellular mitochondria.
- Cardioprotective, includes blood pressure reduction, improves lipid profile, and helps prevent auricular fibrillation
- It improves the liver function of those suffering from cirrhosis
Combine dark chocolate with apples
Eating apples reduces the risk of death from heart disease. In fact, this is supposed to be due to the content of antioxidant flavonoids, including the anti-inflammatory quercetin. As already indicated, dark chocolate, which is rich in antioxidant catechins, also serves as a support for heart health.
In fact, combining dark chocolate and apples has been shown to reduce blood clots, which reduces the risk of cerebrovascular disease.
However, we have a couple of caveats: Since most of the antioxidants in apples are contained in the peel, you should not peel it when you eat it. For this reason, look for organic apples, to avoid consuming pesticides or other chemicals.
As for dark chocolate: the closer it is to its natural state, the greater the nutritional value. So try to consume chocolate with more cocoa and less sugar. The best alternative is chunks of raw cocoa, as long as you can tolerate the bitter taste.