In recent years, there has been an upswing in obesity rates, and statistics have revealed that the UAE has one of the highest rates of obesity in the world. Hence, focus has shifted to eating foods that are deemed to be healthy with avocados and greens being deemed as foods that are in favor, going by viral posts on social media. In view of this trend, eating a bar or even a square of chocolate can lead to even more guilt than usual. But what if chocolate is actually good for you? Not all kinds of chocolate, but dark chocolate has been deemed by some experts to actually have a few beneficial qualities. Read on to learn more about the benefits of eating dark chocolate so that you no longer feel guilty about indulging in your favorite snack:
1. Chocolate is a Good Source of Antioxidants: Chocolate is made from the seed of the cocoa tree. This is deemed to be one of the best sources of antioxidants. Many scientific studies have shown that the bioactive compounds in dark chocolate and cocoa can help decrease blood pressure and improve blood flow.
2. Dark chocolate is a Good Source of Nutrients: Good quality dark chocolate has plenty of fiber and minerals like iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and selenium as well as a good amount of soluble fiber. It also has plenty of saturated and monounsaturated and small amounts of polyunsaturated fat. So, it is not just a source of empty calories.
3. Dark Chocolate can Improve Cardiac health: Dark Chocolate can raise HDL (“good” cholesterol) and protects LDL or “bad” cholesterol from oxidation thus preventing it from damaging other tissues in the body. A controlled study found that consumption of dark chocolate two or three times in a week reduced the risk of having calcified plaque in the arteries by 32 percent.
4. Dark chocolate can Reduce the Risk of Diabetes: Dark chocolate can also reduce insulin resistance by reducing oxidative stress. Scientists think this is the main cause of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is seen as a risk factor for diabetes. Eating dark chocolate could help the body refine the manner in which it metabolizes glucose..
5. Dark Chocolate Might Improve Cognitive Function in Older People: Observational studies have indicated that cocoa might contribute to improving cognitive function in elderly people who have been affected by a decline in their mental capacity. Eating high-flavanol cocoa improved blood flow to the brain even in healthy volunteers who participated in a controlled study. This leads to better verbal fluency.
6. Consuming Dark Chocolate Might Protect Skin Against Sun Damage: Dark chocolate has flavanols which can protect our skin against sun damage and enhance skin hydration and density.
7. Dar Chocolate Might Help with Weight Loss: It might sound a bit counter intuitive consuming dark chocolate might help to control appetite and thus assist with efforts to lose weight. It is said that eating a bit of dark chocolate before or after meals can trigger hormones which might signal satiety to our brain.
8. In view of the considerable health benefits that dark chocolate offers, there is no need to feel guilty about having a square or two as a snack after dinner. Ideally, the chocolate you consume should be without milk or sugar, but it is still okay to have a bar of chocolate with added sugar once in a while as long as you don’t go over indulge. To be on the safe side, always opt for quality dark chocolate having cocoa content of 70 percent or more.
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