The benefits of eating dark chocolate daily
With the name of Tchocolatl the Mayans elaborated around the 4th century BC. C a wonderful drink considered of the Gods, and believed that in the seeds of cocoa was personified Quetzalcoatl, the god of Wisdom. In fact, for the Aztecs it had so much value that they even served as currency.
According to the legend, the god Quetzalcoatl gave the cacao tree to the men, throwing the last cocoa seeds in Neonalco (present Tabasco), after realizing that all the cacao plants had dried up. A short time later the seeds bloomed under his hand, subsisting to this day.
At that time, the Tchocolatl was a frothy and bitter drink, mixed with corn puree, spaces or wine, and always cold. Not only was it considered an authentic drink of Gods, but because of its different stimulating components it was granted aphrodisiac qualities and a wonderful tool to provide strength.
However, it was not until his arrival in Spain around the 16th century that sugar was added to it, and it finally became a food and a tremendously popular drink, especially among the ruling classes of that time.
Today we can find chocolate of very different flavors in virtually all supermarkets. Not only the most classic and popular flavors (such as the case of milk chocolate and dark chocolate), but also delicious options such as chocolate with orange, mint, flavored with yogurt ... Even chocolates filled with wonderful syrup.
But from a nutritional and health point of view, it is not the same to eat milk chocolate or white chocolate that you opt for dark chocolate.
What is dark chocolate?
Dark chocolate is that variety of chocolate that contains a minimum percentage of cocoa and which has not been included any other ingredient in its composition, except for some sweetener and some other compound or substance for its conservation.
The minimum percentage of cocoa starts at 50%, so that depending on this percentage, its cocoa flavor (and therefore its bitterness) will be more or less strong. Thus, for example, dark chocolate with a minimum of 70% begins to stand out precisely because of its bitter taste, but also in its incredible health benefits.
In this sense, a maxim tends to be fulfilled: how much more bitter the healthier chocolate will be.
From a dietary point of view, Black chocolate is much better than milk chocolate, precisely because milk tends to block the antioxidant power of cocoa, making it difficult to assimilate its essential nutrients.
The benefits of dark chocolate
Restorative and energetic food
Dark chocolate is one of the best foods that exist to increase our energy, therefore its consumption is ideal when we feel low in strength and we need a push.
Why? Dark chocolate is rich in phenylethylamine, a compound that acts directly in the brain triggering a state of euphoria and emotional well-being especially useful as a natural restorative, helping us to recover strength in situations of physical and mental fatigue.
It helps us to be happier
In addition to its restorative and energetic qualities, did you know that dark chocolate helps us improve our mood, and therefore it is especially suitable to make us something happier ?.
We find the reason why he is capable of increase the production of endorphins, hormones that precisely improve our mood and our mood.
As we indicated in the previous lines, there is nothing better than replacing milk chocolate with pure dark chocolate, since milk negatively influences the antioxidant qualities of dark chocolate. That is to say, pure black chocolate stands out for its antioxidant content.
As you surely know, antioxidants are natural compounds capable of preventing the action of free radicals in our body, thus helping us to prevent the degeneration of our cells (whose oxidation is responsible for the appearance of many diseases).
In addition, thanks to its antioxidant richness, dark chocolate would be a potentially useful preventive tool for the nutritional management of diabetes mellitus type 2 (1), although it would be a recommendation that should be made with caution, especially if we consider that In the market we can find a wide variety of chocolates rich in fats and sugars. Therefore, the recommendation would come from dark chocolate with no added sugars.
Good for your heart
Pure dark chocolate is rich in alkaloids that exert both tonic and diuretic action. This means that It is ideal to improve blood circulation, stimulating the heart.
This quality is combined with its contribution in natural antioxidants, helping take care of our cardiovascular system already reduce high levels of both cholesterol and triglycerides (2), even if consumed accompanied by almonds (3).
In addition, regular consumption of dark chocolate (being rich in polyphenol) seems to improve blood pressure in people with high blood pressure and diabetes (4), not producing the same effect in people with a normal blood pressure (5), according to the results of a meta-analysis conducted in 2010.
How much black chocolate could we eat per day to enjoy its properties?
Far from thinking that dark chocolate is a tremendously caloric food that should only be eaten on specific occasions, the truth is that many nutritionists and doctors advise eating a small portion of pure dark chocolate every day (even in slimming diets).
In this sense, about the recommended quantity, It is advisable to eat 25 grams of pure dark chocolate regularly, opting only for black chocolate with no added sugars with a minimum of 70% cocoa.
- Ramos S, Martín MA, Goya L. Effects of Cocoa Antioxidants in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Antioxidants (Basel). 2017 Oct 31; 6 (4). pii: E84. doi: 10.3390 / antiox6040084.
- Kerimi A, Williamson G. The cardiovascular benefits of dark chocolate. Vascul Pharmacol. 2015 Aug; 71: 11-5. doi: 10.1016 / j.vph.2015.05.011.
- Lee Y, Berryman CE, West SG, Chen CO, Blumberg JB, Lapsley KG, Preston AG, Fleming JA, Kris-Etherton PM. Effects of Dark Chocolate and Almonds on Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Overweight and Obese Individuals: A Randomized Controlled-Feeding Trial. J Am Heart Assoc. 2017 Nov 29; 6 (12). pii: e005162. doi: 10.1161 / JAHA.116.005162.
- Rostami A, Khalili M, Haghighat N, Eghtesadi S, Shidfar F, Heidari I, Ebrahimpour-Koujan S, Eghtesadi M. High-cocoa polyphenol-rich chocolate improves blood pressure in patients with diabetes and hypertension. ARYA Atheroscler. 2015 Jan; 11 (1): 21-9.
- Ried K, Sullivan T, Fakler P, Frank OR, Stocks NP. Does chocolate reduce blood pressure? A meta-analysis. BMC Med. 2010 Jun 28; 8: 39. doi: 10.1186 / 1741-7015-8-39.
Medical articles consulted:
- Plasma antioxidants from chocolate (Nature)
- Potential Cardiovascular Health Benefits of Procyanidins Present in Chocolate (ACS Publications)
- Chocolate, a healthy pleasure (Revista Chilena de Nutrición)