The term chocolate refers to the products made up of cocoa powder along with sugar. Chocolates are usually known for many effects on the body like tooth & gum problems, obesity, increasing sugar-level etc. but there are many benefits of chocolate consumption too.
Chocolates come in different forms. The best classification could be done based on the primary ingredients used in the chocolates. Milk chocolates are made up of milk powder, sugar & cocoa solids. White chocolates are made up of milk, sugar & cocoa butter instead of cocoa solids. Dark chocolates are made up of sugar & cocoa powder with no (or very little) milk.
Dark chocolates contain highest amount of cocoa & other ingredients which gives a positive effect on our health. The cocoa contents may range from 30% up to 80%.
Benefits of Chocolate:
1. Heart Diseases:
The flavanoids present in the dark chocolates help in reducing the risk of heart related diseases. A study from European Heart Journal shows that dark chocolate reduces heart attack risks by 39%.
2. Blood Pressure:
Researchers have also proved that dark chocolates (cocoa) help in reducing the blood pressure level in the body. Flavanols increase the formation of endothelial nitric oxide. This promotes vasodilation and helps in reducing the blood pressure.
3. Stress Relief:
According to a study in the Journal of Proteome, having 40 grams of dark chocolate over a period of 2 weeks reduces the urinary excretion of the stress hormone cortisol and catecholamines. It also normalizes stress-related differences in energy metabolism. Cortisol is a stress hormone and cathecholamines are involved in the fight or flight response.
4. Cholesterol Level:
Dark chocolates help in reducing the LDL cholesterol levels (bad cholesterol). According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition cocoa powder reduces the LDL cholesterol level. On the other hand it increases the HDL cholesterol level (good cholesterol) & also increases serum antioxidant capacity.
5. Brain Booster:
Dark Chocolate provides short term memory boost. It increases the blood flow to the brains. Increase in blood flow helps in memory boost, increase in alertness level & helps fighting sleep deprivation.
Eating chocolates at any time & any amount is not the right way to get these benefits. There are many researches done on how much quantity of chocolate should have daily. One of those researches says that you should have 6.7 grams of dark chocolate in a day to keep yourself away heart attacks. The quantity varies according to different ingredients, brands & your health conditions.
Stay Healthy! Stay Fit!