Here are some benefits of dark chocolate we bet you did not know
Raw cacao, which is the purest and most natural form of chocolate, is a powerhouse of antioxidants as well as nutrients
Chocolates! The name is is enough for everyone because it has long been a beloved treat for everyone not just in India but around the world. Its rich, indulgent flavour and creamy texture always make it a go-to comfort food for many. However, when we are choosing chocolates, we never check on its side effects as not all chocolates are created equal. The chocolate that truly stands out for its health benefits is either a dark chocolate or one which has raw cacao. Excessive consumption of sugar laden chocolates can lead to weight gain, increased risk of obesity, and higher chances of developing chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Additionally, milk and sugar laced chocolates may cause digestive issues for individuals who are lactose intolerant or sensitive to dairy. Raw cacao, which is the purest and most natural form of chocolate, is a powerhouse of antioxidants as well as nutrients. It offers a range of advantages over other chocolate options, especially those that are highly processed, milk-based or overly sweet.
First and foremost, dark chocolate, particularly 75 percent or more, and raw cacao are loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that help protect our bodies from damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can lead to various health problems, including heart disease, brain health and cancer. Raw cacao is one of the highest sources of antioxidants available, surpassing even blueberries and green tea. These antioxidants, such as flavonoids and polyphenols, not only combat oxidative stress but also have anti-inflammatory properties that can benefit our overall health.
Raw cacao is also an excellent source of magnesium. Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in numerous bodily functions, including bone, muscle and nerve function, energy production, blood sugar regulation, and maintaining healthy blood pressure levels etc. Adequate magnesium intake is important for overall health as it supports bone health, reduces the risk of heart disease, improves mood and helps with muscle relaxation and sleep quality.
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Furthermore, dark chocolate or raw cacao has mood-enhancing properties as well. It contains several compounds, including phenylethylamine (PEA) and anandamide, which are known to promote feelings of happiness and well-being. PEA is often referred to as the ‘love chemical’ as it is released by our brains when we fall in love; may be that’s why people in love can connect with chocolate easily. Anandamide, on the other hand, is a neurotransmitter that has been linked to feelings of euphoria and bliss. By taking in right amount of dark chocolate or raw cacao, we can experience a natural boost in mood and a sense of pleasure without the need for artificial stimulants or sweeteners.
When it comes to choosing the best chocolate, it’s important to note that not all chocolate bars are created equal. Instead of a sugar laden one, opting for dark chocolate with a high cacao content is a better choice. A piece of dark chocolate with 70 percent or higher cacao content tends to be lower in sugar and higher in antioxidants and other beneficial compounds. It’s important to read the labels and choose chocolate bars with minimal added ingredients and higher cacao percentages. By doing so, you can indulge your sweet tooth while reaping the benefits of cacao’s natural goodness.
It’s worth noting that while raw cacao is undoubtedly a healthier option, moderation is still key. Even though it has numerous health benefits, consuming excessive amounts of any type of chocolate can lead to weight gain and other health issues. It’s always best to enjoy chocolate in moderation as part of a balanced diet. So next time you reach for a chocolate bar, consider opting for the raw cacao variety and treat yourself to a healthier, more satisfying experience. However, it’s also important to consume in moderation and not overdo the same.