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Stop feeling guilty after feasting on dark chocolate. It has health benefits to offer you

A bar of dark chocolate can get anybody’s mood rolling. While many aren’t aware of its health benefits, here’s a brief that’ll clear all doubts.
dark chocolate
This V-day special recipe comes with a drizzle of dark chocolate! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Team Health Shots Updated: 27 Jan 2020, 19:02 pm IST
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Are you a chocolate addict who loves to chomp on those irresistible bars every now and then? Well, if the answer to that question is yes, then it’s time for you to make some wise choices.

Whether you are feeling blue or generally have an urge to treat your taste buds, a bar of chocolate can make almost anybody’s day. And when it comes to chocolates, dark chocolates have gained popularity among experts and health fanatics.

Even though, as youngsters, many of us have been repeatedly warned that chocolate causes tooth decay, turns out that the dark chocolate is not bereft of health benefits.

1. Improves brain function
If you are still wondering if indulging in dark chocolates is a good idea, fret no more. Turns out that eating dark chocolate in the form of high-flavanol cocoa improves blood flow to the brain and researchers from Italy’s University of L’Aquila say that regular consumption improves cognitive function in the elderly.

Cocoa contains certain stimulants like caffeine and theobromine, which may improve brain function in a moderate amount of time.

2. A powerhouse of antioxidants
Do you have a soft and supple skin? Is your immunity system helping you brave those seasonal illnesses? If yes, then chances are that your antioxidant intake is at an all-time high.

Our body tends to produce free radicals or oxidants that have the ability to defend themselves against bacteria and viruses. But there’s a catch here—they have the tendency to harm and attack the cells if they become too many in number.

This is precisely where antioxidants come into play—they help in neutralizing these oxidants from your bloodstream.

Dark chocolate is known to be rich in antioxidants and packed with nutrients, making them a superfood.

Other than this, dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which may play a role in cancer prevention, weight loss and heart health, said a study in the Journal of Natural Science.

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Since oxidative stress contributes to natural ageing process, having dark chocolate help prevents the process in humans. Oxidative stress can cause heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cancer and eye disease.

Also, read: Dementia and Alzheimer’s could begin in your 20s. Do these things to reduce their risk

benefits of dark chocolate
The antioxidant content in dark chocolates is quite high. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. May help prevent heart disease and lower risk of stroke
A number of studies have found that dark chocolate may improve heart health as well. A study, published in the journal Heart, found that people who ate more dark chocolate each day had a lower risk of both heart disease and stroke. What else do you want from life?

4. Helps curb cravings
If you think chocolate only benefited one from diseases, think again! Dark chocolates can keep you full for a longer spell as they have a high satiety value.

No, we aren’t asking you to binge eat those dark chocolate bars. Always remember that moderation is important and once dark chocolate is consumed in controlled amounts, it reduces the pace of digestion. Moreover, the high MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acids) content can further boost your metabolism and burn body fat.

5. Raises HDL and protects LDL from oxidation
For everyone advising you that consuming chocolates is not good, tell them that cocoa powder decreases oxidised LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Researchers from a study in Japan’s Meiji Seika Kaisha Ltd revealed that cocoa powder may contribute to a reduction in LDL cholesterol, an elevation in HDL (good) cholesterol, and the suppression of oxidized LDL.

How much dark chocolate is good?
Studies have pointed out that a daily square of dark chocolate is enough to improve heart health, thanks to flavonols present in it.

A 2010 study, published in the European Heart Journal, highlighted that a small dose of dark chocolate could decrease risk of heart attack and stroke by nearly 40%.

In conclusion
Dark chocolate is a rich source of minerals such as iron, magnesium, and zinc apart from antioxidants, which may provide a host of health benefits.

So the next time you sneakily grab a piece of chocolate, you may not have to feel so guilty about eating it.

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