Dark chocolate is a type of chocolate that has less milk and a greater content of cocoa butter than other types of chocolate. Industry and government standards of what product can be branded “dark chocolate” vary by market and country. The average American eats about 4.5 kg of chocolate every year 1 .
Dark chocolate contains powerful antioxidants, such as flavonols and polyphenols, and is pretty low in sugar. This chocolate has a reputation as a healthier substitute to other forms of chocolates, as milk chocolate. Many experts describe dark chocolate as a potential super food 2 .
Dark chocolate is loaded with certain amazing nutrients that can benefit your health. Following, we present you the possible health benefits of dark chocolate:
- Protect Your Skin
As you probably know, chocolate massage and baths are really popular these days – and there is a great reason for that. The bioactive compounds, called flavonols, in dark chocolates might also be ideal for your skin. They can improve blood flow to the skin, protect against sun-induced damage, and increase skin hydration and density.
- Prevent Cardiovascular Disease
According to research published in The BMJ, eating dark chocolate can help lower the risk of developing some cardiovascular disease by 1/3. The reports were presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Paris, France 3 .
- Lower Cholesterol
Eating dark chocolate may help reduce cholesterol levels (“bad” fats), according to a study published in The Journal of Nutrition 4 . The high content of flavonols and sterols in this chocolate are responsible for its great ability to normalize cholesterol levels.
- Benefit Pregnancy
Great news for all expectant mothers: consuming 30 grams of dark chocolate (75% and more) every day during pregnancy might benefit fetal growth and development, according to a study from the 2016 Pregnancy Meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in Atlanta, GA 5 .
- Boost Memory
Scientists at Harvard Medical School 6 claim that consuming 2 cups of hot chocolate per day can help reduce memory decline in older people and keep the brain healthy. The scientists found that hot chocolate improved blood flow to part of the brain where it was required. Check out more delicious brain foods: http://yourhealthtube.com/brain-food-improve-memory-concentration/
Dark Chocolate Nutrition Facts
If you eat quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content (at least 75%), then it is actually relatively nutritious. This chocolate is loaded with minerals and contains an impressive amount of soluble fiber.
A 100-gram bar of dark chocolate with 75-85% cocoa contains 7 :
- 11 grams of fiber
- 98% of the RDA for manganese
- 89% of the RDA for copper
- 67% of the RDA for iron
- 58% of the RDA for magnesium
It also has plenty of zinc, potassium, selenium, and phosphorus.
Evidently, 3.5 ounces/ 100 grams is a fairly large amount and not something you should be eating daily. All these nutrients also come with 590 calories and some amount of sugar.
Healthy Homemade Dark Chocolate Recipe (Paleo)
This homemade chocolate is made without artificial ingredients and is ideal for every health conscious person who enjoys an indulgent treat. Add-in combinations and ingredients are endless, and sweetness could be tweaked to taste. Enjoy!
Ready in: 1 hour and 10 minutes
- ½ cup coconut oil
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons honey (or maple syrup)
Gently melt the coconut oil in a pan over medium heat. Next, stir honey, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract into melted oil till well combined. Pour mixture into a pliable tray or candy mold. Refrigerate about 1 hour – until chilled.
- Flavor by adding chopped nuts, or almonds, peanut butter, orange zest, dried coconut, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, dried fruit, etc. to taste. Add after melting all the main ingredients.
- The aluminum foil could be used to keep food moist and make clean-up easier.
There is significant evidence that dark chocolate can provide health benefits, being particularly protective against heart disease. Remember, you should always try to choose quality chocolate – organic, dark chocolate with 75% or higher cocoa content. Chocolate contains a great number of calories – so, you should not consume more than 30-35 grams per day.