Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate, What percentage of cocoa should be in dark chocolate?
Although dark chocolate does not appeal to everyone's taste, it is recommended to be consumed by doctors because it is healthier than regular milk chocolate. So what are the health benefits of dark chocolate?
Chocolate is a food that many of us love to consume. Chocolate, which is among the most enjoyable foods to eat, is beneficial for health, especially dark ones.
When we look at the historical development of chocolate; It probably started with the Mayans, who were the first people to cultivate the cacao plant in South America. For the Mayans, chocolate was a cocoa drink prepared with hot water and often flavored with cinnamon and pepper. He was called the "food of the gods" and was named Emperor II by the Aztecs. It is presented at Moctezuma's table.
Christopher Columbus was the first European to encounter cocoa in 1502. He seized a canoe containing cacao beans, defined as currency and considered "mysterious-looking almonds" in Central America. Cocoa originated in Europe in 1528 when Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés brought samples of cocoa to King Charles of Spain and spread the wonderful effects of the beverage prepared from it.
Today, it has taken its place in our lives as a food that many of us love to consume. Dark chocolate is often consumed by adults to sweeten the mouth.
Cocoa Ratio Should Be At Least 70 Percent
Cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate, contains a significant amount of fat. (40-50% as cocoa butter, about 33 percent oleic acid, 25 percent palmitic acid, and 33 percent stearic acid) Also, polyphenols make up about 10 percent of the dry weight of a whole cocoa bean. Cocoa beans are one of the best-known sources of dietary polyphenols, containing more phenolic antioxidants than most foods. Three groups of polyphenols can be identified in cocoa beans: catechins (37%), anthocyanidins (4%), and proanthocyanidins (58%); These flavonoids are the most abundant plant components in cocoa beans. However, the bitterness caused by the polyphenols makes unprocessed cocoa beans rather unpleasant. For this reason, manufacturers have developed processing techniques to remove bitterness. Such treatments reduce the polyphenol content by up to 10 times.
Dark Chocolate Calories
Even if chocolate is dark, it is a calorie food and should be consumed carefully. The calories of dark chocolate are not the same as milk, white and ruby chocolate. 28 grams of dark chocolate containing 70-85 percent cocoa is 170 calories. Cocoa is also rich in minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, copper, iron, zinc and magnesium.
Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate contains organic compounds, especially flavonoids, polyphenols and catechins. These antioxidants neutralize free radicals and prevent oxidative stress that damages cells and tissues. Oxidative stress can cause diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and cancer.
- The two main risk factors for heart diseases are; high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The flavanols in dark chocolate stimulate nitric oxide production in the body. Nitric oxide causes blood vessels to dilate, increasing blood flow and lowering blood pressure. Dark chocolate can raise good cholesterol (HDL) while lowering bad cholesterol (LDL) thanks to its polyphenols and theobromine compounds.
- Inflammation is the body's natural immune response to protect itself against disease and other harmful substances to which it is exposed. However, chronic inflammation damages cells and tissues. Dark chocolate contains compounds that reduce inflammation. Studies show that dark chocolate with 70 percent cocoa content has positive effects on the immune system.
- Cocoa and flavonols improve glucose homeostasis by slowing carbohydrate digestion and intestinal absorption. Cocoa and its flavonols reduce insulin resistance by regulating glucose transport and insulin signaling proteins in insulin-sensitive tissues (liver, adipose tissue and skeletal muscle), and prevent disease-related oxidative and inflammatory damage in these tissues.
- While dark chocolate improves brain function, it is supportive in preventing damage caused by Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, which often develop with aging.
- While the theobramine substance in dark chocolate causes an increase in energy and a rapid decrease, the anandamide substance has a calming feature. This substance provides long-term spiritual healing and energy boost.
- Containing water-soluble fiber that helps digestion, this dark chocolate meets 2/3 of the daily iron need, more than half of the magnesium and almost all of the manganese and copper needs.
- Studies have shown that dark chocolate consumption increases the diversity and amount of beneficial bacterial species such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, and causes a decrease in tumor necrosis factor-α receptor gene expression in intestinal tissues.
Dark chocolates with high cocoa content and unsweetened should be preferred, daily consumption should not exceed 20 grams.