Not to be confused with World Chocolate Day that happens on 7 July, International Chocolate Day, which has a history of about 4,000 years, falls on 13 September.
Nonetheless, both celebrate the wonders of chocolate and the benefits it brings. Besides, they give us more reasons to buy this well-loved treat!
As sinful as chocolates may sometimes be, an appropriate amount can positively affect our health. That is for the case of dark chocolate, which has at least 70 per cent cocoa. Here’s how.
1. It is nutritious.
Dark chocolate with a high cocoa content and less sugar and unhealthy fats is very nutritious. It is loaded with soluble fibres and minerals like iron, magnesium, copper, and manganese, which are necessary for our body functions.
However, it also contains a lot of calories and fat. Eating in moderation will help you reap the most benefits from dark chocolate.
2. It may prevent heart disease and lower stroke risk.
The flavonoids in dark chocolate help blood vessels to relax and improve blood flow. Blood pressure is thus reduced, which helps improve cardiovascular health. Eating dark chocolate can also help to raise the “good” cholesterol and lower the “bad” cholesterol. With less cholesterol to lodge in the arteries, there is a lower risk of blocked arteries, coronary artery disease and stroke.
3. It may improve blood sugar levels and reduce diabetes risk.
Dark chocolate improves how the body metabolises glucose. By reducing insulin resistance, which causes high blood sugar, the risk of type 2 diabetes decreases. However, the sugar in dark chocolate may have the opposite effect.
4. It may improve cognitive functions.
Eating dark chocolate can improve blood flow to the brain and the brain’s ability to form new synaptic connections. This helps to improve attention, verbal learning, memory, and mood, and may reduce brain diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Stimulants like caffeine and theobromine in cocoa also help to improve brain function in the short term.
5. It is a powerful source of antioxidants and may prevent cancer.
Dark chocolate is rich in a wide variety of antioxidants, which protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals. The reduction in cell damage helps lower the possibility of cancers.
6. It may protect your skin from the sun.
Apart from the vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to the skin, the flavanols in dark chocolate can protect the skin against the powerful ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun. They also improve blood flow to the skin and increase skin density and hydration.