Scientific studies claim that dark chocolate in moderation is a superfood.
Chocolate is made of cocoa beans that grow on cocoa trees. One tree grows 20-30 pods a year, and one pod contains about 40 beans. The crop from one tree can produce about 5 bars of dark chocolate.
About 2,000 to 3,000 years ago, the Mayans grew cocoa beans, ground them up, and made a refreshing hot drink called "the drink of the gods." It was thought to have stimulating and therapeutic effects.
The Aztecs later picked up on this love of chocolate, and the Spaniards discovered the drink in the 1500s and spread it around the world. Hard chocolate was invented in the 19th century, and then milk and sugar were produced and added to it.
Dark chocolate contains 60 percent or more of cocoa and no milk. Milk chocolate contains 5 percent to 7 percent of cocoa. White chocolate contains only cocoa butter and milk.
The same theory that is applied to berries and leafy greens, can be applied to chocolate: the darker the color of chocolate is, the more antioxidant properties it contains and the better it is.
Milk, on the other hand, binds with antioxidants, robbing them of their ability to counteract free radicals, so earing milk chocolate or drinking milk with dark chocolate leads to having less of its healthy benefits.
The recommended amount of chocolate is approximately 30 grams per day.
The benefits of dark chocolate
- It favorably influences the cardiovascular system.
- It makes the blood pressure lower, improves the condition of the blood vessels, and decreases the risk of a stroke.
- It has a significant positive effect on cognitive functions. For example, it can improve memory and learning abilities.
- It improves mood, increases the level of calmness and satisfaction. Reduces the risk of depression.
- Has antioxidant properties, counteracts chronic inflammation of the body and free radicals.
- Improves insulin sensitivity and reduces insulin resistance by improving glucose metabolism in non-diabetic adults.
- Can help with weight loss.
- Consuming a small amount of chocolate triggers "satiety hormones." And during digestion, chocolate acts as a prebiotic, promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria and a healthy metabolism.
- Promotes proper blood lipid profile (reducing "bad" cholesterol and increasing "good" cholesterol).
- Contains large amounts of minerals.
The recommended daily amount of minerals is as follows: copper - 25%, calcium - 2%, iron - 19%, magnesium - 16%, potassium - 6%, and zinc - 6%. And that's good for the whole body, and in particular for skin quality, for instance.
According to a 2016 study, cocoa contains the plant substance called flavanoids, or polyphenols, which act as antioxidants. More so than, for example, green tea or red dry wine, which are sometimes promoted as a healthy product. These substances are mostly responsible for the beneficial effects of chocolate.
Of course, all of the above applies only to chocolate with a high cocoa content and minimal sugar.
Unfortunately, many of these studies are observational, and their results can be skewed. For example, because participants may have underestimated or overestimated their chocolate intake. The results are also limited by the fact that cause and effect cannot be directly determined.
Finally, even the healthiest foods should be eaten according to norms and watching the daily caloric intake.
Also try use our fat burner pre workout supplement!