Dark chocolate - Benefits and nutritional properties

Dark chocolate – Benefits and nutritional properties Which is better 50%, 70% or 89%?

Dark chocolate – what is it?

Dark chocolate is a food made from a paste derived from cocoa beans. Of the types of chocolate, black is the best in terms of nutrition. It is not a myth that one of the benefits of dark chocolate is the improvement of the health of the skin and the cardiovascular system. Why?

For a food to be considered dark chocolate, the cocoa content must be more significant than 50%. (3) When the product has a high content of sugar or hydrogenated vegetable fats, it is mandatory to clarify it on its packaging. Other less healthy types of chocolate are white, milk, and the worst of all, simile chocolate.

Benefits of dark chocolate

The health benefits apply to eating 2 ounces per day. (7):

  1. Acts as an antioxidant
  2. Regulates cholesterol
  3. Improve cardiovascular health
  4. Improve cognitive functions
  5. Fast muscle recovery
  6. Reduce cortisol
  7. Regulate blood glucose
  8. Acts as an antioxidant

Due to its high catechin content, it is a food with potential effects in reducing the impact of free radicals in the body. One of the benefits of dark chocolate is preventing some types of cancer.

  1. Regulates cholesterol

The main fat content of chocolate comes from cocoa butter. Its composition is 33% oleic acid, 25% palmitic acid, and 33% stearic acid. Oleic acid has been confirmed as one of the healthy fats with positive effects on lowering cholesterol. (7)

  1. Improve cardiovascular health

Dark chocolate is high in flavanols. This type of molecule is directly related to an improvement in cardiovascular health. It is a regulator of blood pressure and better functioning of brain activity. (1)

  1. Improve cognitive functions

In a recent study, it is claimed that consuming cocoa powder increases blood flow in the brain. This study suggests that regular and controlled consumption of dark chocolate can help treat certain brain disorders such as dementia. (7)

  1. Rapid muscle recovery

The positive relationship between muscle recovery and the consumption of dark chocolate 30 minutes before a 60-minute session of aerobic exercises has been proven. (9) A relevant data for runners and marathoners.

  1. Reduce cortisol

In a study conducted in Switzerland, a 14-day trial of the intake of 40 g of dark chocolate was carried out in adults. Some parameters, such as cortisol levels (the stress-related hormone), decreased considerably. (8)

  1. Regulate blood glucose

This is one of the most controversial benefits of dark chocolate. Due to its high content of flavanols, it can improve blood glucose levels. (7) This fact does not apply to types of chocolate with high sugar content.

Nutritional properties of dark chocolate

Among the nutritional properties of dark chocolate, its content of healthy fats stands out. Round at 30% (in the form of cocoa butter), 6% protein, and 61% carbohydrates; the remaining 3% is water. She is also considered one of the foods with magnesium, vitamins A and B. All essential micronutrients in the diet of an athlete.

Dark chocolate is high in theobromine, a molecule similar to theobromine. A serving of this food provides 20 to 60 mg of theobromine. A value practically incomparable with any other food. This molecule is one of the most potent natural antioxidants.

Which dark chocolate is better, 50%, 70%, or 89%?

The best dark chocolate in terms of nutrition is the one that is around 70% cocoa. Some brands even sell figures with higher percentages, such as 89%. However, its taste can be excessively bitter for those not used to eating this food regularly.

Evaluating the ingredient list is the first step in choosing the best dark chocolate. The first ingredient on the list should be cocoa mass, cocoa butter, or cocoa powder. If hydrogenated vegetable fats appear or higher xylitol content than cocoa, the chances of obtaining the benefits of dark chocolate are reduced.

It is recommended not to choose dark chocolate with high content of sugar substitutes. An excess of sweeteners worsens the taste and significantly reduces the percentage of flavonoids. As for 50% cocoa chocolate, although its flavor is usually pleasant, the rest is generally white sugar. So it is not considered the best option for those with a tendency to diabetes.

70% cocoa dark chocolate is the best. The main ingredient should be cocoa; this is considered one of the superfoods. Higher cocoa percentages (89%) are usually very bitter on the palate. When they are lower, their sugar content rises to make it an unhealthy food. The benefits of dark chocolate are: improving the cardiovascular system, improving cognitive functions, and being a potent antioxidant.

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