Chocolate can provide an anti-inflammatory effect throughout your system, helping to stave off diseases and keep you healthy. Needless to say inflammation can lead to a lot of health issues ranging from diseases to headaches to sore muscles and tendons.
The more bitter the pill the more effective it is- this is a common saying and age-old belief. According to traditional wisdom the relatively bland and unappetizing food items are good for the human body. However, actually this is far from the truth as many spicy and sharp tasting foods too have their own unique benefits for the human body.
Similarly there is chocolate- the dark chocolates and the regular chocolates. And most of us love binging on chocolates atleast occasionally. Well the good news is that if consumed in moderation, chocolates can translate to a slew of health benefits.
Rich in flavonoids (potent antioxidants), chocolate works to help blood vessels relax which decreases blood pressure. "Research backs this up, demonstrating that moderate chocolate consumption (up to six servings a week) can help lower your risk of rapid heart rate, which can lead to heart problems or stroke," says a city based cardiologist. He goes on to add, "Look for at least 70% cocoa for the higher the percentage, the more nutritious the chocolate."
Chocolate can provide an anti-inflammatory effect throughout your system, helping to stave off diseases and keep you healthy. Needless to say inflammation can lead to a lot of health issues ranging from diseases to headaches to sore muscles and tendons. "One study has established that cocoa polyphenols positively regulate the bacterial composition of the intestine—increasing the number of good gut bacteria, which can trigger this anti-inflammatory response. Therefore dark chocolate particularly features on the list of the best anti-inflammatory foods," says Ankita Kashyap, a nutritionist.
The bioactive compounds in dark chocolate may also be great for your skin. "The flavanols can protect against sun damage, improve blood flow to the skin and increase skin density and hydration," says a skin specialist.
Researchers have linked cocoa to improved attention, better cognition, processing speed and memory. Infact researchers are looking into its link in terms of fighting Alzheimer's.
Besides making you smile when you eat it, chocolate also has positive effects on the brain. Chocolate helps regulate the feel-good hormone serotonin and dopamine and can lift mood.
However, do understand that a lot of the chocolate available in the market is not nutritious. "Choose quality stuff basically dark chocolate with 70% or higher cocoa content. Dark chocolates typically contain some sugar, but the amounts are usually small and the darker the chocolate, the less sugar it will contain," advises Kashyap and adds, "If you want the benefits of cocoa without the calories in chocolate, consider making a hot cocoa without any cream or sugar."
Also dark chocolate is an effective cough suppressant because it is full of antioxidants like catechins, polyphenols, flavonols and theobromine. Infact some scientists believe it can be more effectual than common cold medicines. The cocoa flavanols in dark chocolate can heighten oxygen availability and nutrient supply to the blood vessels present in the eyes, thus fortifying vision health. Studies show that dark chocolate displayed a better capability to enhance visual acuteness than white chocolate.
Also Read: How dark chocolate can minimize the impact on glucose control