Consuming dark chocolate with high cocoa content in moderation can help prevent heart disease by supplying antioxidants and minerals. However, it could also have a lot of calories and sugar.
Nutrient-rich dark chocolate has a good impact on your health.
One of the finest sources of antioxidants available is made from the cocoa tree’s seed.
Dark chocolate can enhance your health and reduce your risk of heart disease, according to studies.
These are seven scientifically proven health benefits of dark chocolate or cocoa.
1. Very nutritious
Dark chocolate can be very healthful if it is of high quality and has a high cocoa content.
It has an abundance of nutrients and a respectable amount of soluble fiber.
According to a reliable source, a 100-gram bar of dark chocolate containing 70–85% cocoa includes:
11 grams of fiber.
The iron content of 66% of the DV
For magnesium, 57% of the DV
56 percent of the copper DV
manganese, almost 85% of the DV
Selenium, zinc, phosphorus, and potassium are also abundant in it.
Undoubtedly, 3.5 ounces, or 100 grams, is a substantial quantity and not something you ought to consume on a regular basis. 600 calories and a moderate amount of sugar are also included in these nutrients.
Dark chocolate is therefore best enjoyed in moderation.
Dark chocolate and cocoa both have an excellent fatty acid profile. Stearic acid, palmitic acid, and oleic acid—a heart-healthy fat also present in olive oil—make up the majority of the fats.
The effect of stearic acid on bodily cholesterol is neutral. Though only accounting for one-third of total fat calories, palmitic acid has the ability to elevate cholesterol levels.
Although theobromine and caffeine are also present in dark chocolate, the relatively low caffeine content makes it unlikely to keep you up at night.
2. A strong anti-oxidant source
Oxygen Radon Absorbance Capacity is known as ORAC. This indicates how active a food’s antioxidants are.
Basically, researchers test a food sample’s antioxidant content by exposing it to many harmful free radicals. The goal is to determine how well the food does this job.
These investigations support the notion that chocolate has a high antioxidant content. Because ORAC levels are determined in a test tube and cannot have the same impact on the body, their biological relevance is called into doubt.
Organic chemicals found in dark chocolate are abundant and have biological activity, serving as antioxidants. Among these are flavonols, catechins, and polyphenols. When paired with other foods like cocoa and almonds, research suggests that the polyphenols in dark chocolate may help reduce some types of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol (3 trusted sources).
3. It may decrease blood pressure and increase blood flow.
Nitric oxide (NO) can be produced by the endothelium, the lining of arteries when dark chocolate contains flavonoids (5).
Sending messages to the arteries to relax is one of NO’s roles in lowering blood pressure by lowering blood flow resistance.
Although the benefits are usually minor, numerous controlled studies have demonstrated that cocoa and dark chocolate can enhance blood flow and reduce blood pressure.
Take this with a grain of salt, though, as one study in individuals with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure found no effect (8 Trusted Source). It is likely that adding cocoa flavanols to the diet will not benefit those who are already taking medication for high blood pressure.
4. It increases HDL and keeps LDL from oxidizing
Eating dark chocolate can help reduce the risk of heart disease in multiple significant ways. It could offer a defense against excessive cholesterol.
Eating dark chocolate coupled with flavanol lycopene was found to dramatically lower levels of triglycerides, total cholesterol, and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in a short study.
Oxidation is the result of some forms of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol interacting with free radicals within your body. The LDL particle becomes reactive due to oxidation, and it can harm other tissues like the lining of your heart’s arteries.
The fact that cocoa reduces LDL types that are prone to oxidation makes perfect sense. Its rich supply of potent antioxidants prevents oxidative damage to lipoproteins by entering the bloodstream (3 trusted sources).
Dark chocolate flavonols can also lessen insulin resistance, which is a significant risk factor for conditions including diabetes and heart disease.
5. May lower risk of heart disease
Dark chocolate contains chemicals that seem to be quite protective against LDL oxidation.
Long-term, this should lead to a significant reduction in the amount of cholesterol that builds up in the arteries, lowering the risk of heart disease.
Studies indicate a significant improvement.
Consuming chocolate or cocoa that is high in flavanols has been linked to lowered blood pressure and improved cardiovascular health, according to numerous research conducted over time.
Eating chocolate three times a week reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by nine percent, according to an assessment of research. There was no discernible extra benefit to eating chocolate more frequently (14 Trusted Source).
Eating 45 grams of chocolate a week may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 11%, according to another study. Consuming more than 100 grams a week doesn’t seem to have any positive health effects.
According to a 2017 clinical investigation, participants’ LDL cholesterol levels improved whether they ate almonds with or without dark chocolate (3Trusted Source).
While all of these results are encouraging, additional research is required to determine whether the chocolate actually lowered the risk.
However given the established biological mechanisms (lower blood pressure and oxidation-prone LDL), it is conceivable that eating dark chocolate on a regular basis could minimize the risk of heart disease.