WHAT IS DARK CHOCOLATE?
It is not the chocolate of commercial brands that are we are used to, it is not any kind of milk chocolate, or white chocolate.
Dark chocolate is the healthiest and highest quality chocolate. It contains, among other things minimum 50 percent of cocoa. It can be sweet or bitter, but the most important thing in the whole story about the health of the main ingredient – cocoa.
WHY IS DARK CHOCOLATE HEALTHY?
The main reason to speak of dark chocolate as a healthy food is the high content of flavonoids. They are powerful antioxidants that can also be found in tea, red wine and apples, but in much lower concentration. Antioxidants are important because they protect cells and tissues from harmful effects of free radicals, unstable molecules that destroy our cells. Dark chocolate also contains significant amount of two important minerals: magnesium and copper. Only 40 grams of dark chocolate provides 15% of daily needs for magnesium, which is important in energy production, strong bones, muscle recovery and transmission of nerve impulses. The same amount provides 34% of the daily requirement for copper, which helps the body, produce neurotransmitters, which effectively promotes cardiovascular health.
Dark chocolate also contains phosphorus, potassium and iron. That is not all. Here are some amazing health benefits of dark chocolate:
Protects arteries and improves circulation. It is proven that eating dark chocolate spreads the diameter of the coronary arteries, that way it helps the heart to get the necessary amount of oxygen for it normal functioning.
Prevents arteriosclerosis. Bad cholesterol becomes a danger for the blood vessels when it is exposed to free radicals. It oxidizes and sticks on the inside walls of the vessels causing clogging of arteries. Flavonoids from dark chocolate neutralize free radicals and dilute the blood so it can rush through the body.
Raises the level of good cholesterol. Every single increase of good cholesterol level means less chance of cardiovascular disease. Dark chocolate can also do that for us.
Improves mood and increases brain function. Chocolate lovers already know how good mood booster it is. Chocolate stimulates the production of serotonin- known as the hormone of happiness. Dark chocolate also raises the rate our brain reacts to things.
Helps with mild anemia. Dark chocolate contains certain amount of iron and can help with mile form of this condition. But do not exaggerate with it; just add it to the list of other foods rich in iron.
HOW MUCH DARK CHOCOLATE IS HEALTHY?
No matter how hard it is for us to accept it dark chocolate contains calories. It has 520 calories per 100 grams. So this means that you should not eat too much, especially if you are prone to getting weight. The right amount will be between 40 and 80 grams. But do not eat this amount every day. Limit it use for maybe three times a week. Buy quality chocolate with at least 70 percent of cocoa. And yes, dark chocolate is aphrodisiac but watch out: less is more, especially when it comes to dark chocolate.