Chocolate is usually the type of the food associated with an unhealthy diet and obesity. However, real chocolate connoisseurs are well aware that dark chocolate is one of the most delicious and refined types of chocolate and that it in fact offers certain health benefits. If consumed in reasonable amounts, dark chocolate can actually improve one’s health and mood as well.
Dark Chocolate Nutritional Value
One bar of chocolate, which weight approximately 1.45 oz or 45 grams, contains 228 calories, 2.3 grams of protein, 24.8 grams of carbohydrates and 13.3 grams of fat. The amount of dietary fiver is 2.7 grams. As for the mineral content, this bar contains 12.3 milligrams of calcium, 0.9 milligrams of iron, 12.7 milligrams of magnesium, 20.9 milligrams of phosphorus, and 206 milligrams of potassium.
Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is a good source of the energy that comes from its carbohydrate, sugar and protein content. This is why a chocolate bar can pick a person up during periods of fatigue and sleepiness, and it is also recommended for people who suffer from hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.
More importantly, dark chocolate is believed to be able to prevent and assist in treatment of several diseases and disorders.
A recent study has shown that dark chocolate can increase the blood flow to the brain. This is particularly beneficial for elderly who may be at risk of dementia and to those who have a family history of dementia and other disorders and diseases caused by reduced blood flow to the brain.
Dark chocolate also contains flavonoids and antioxidants. This is important for regulation of cholesterol levels, which means lowering the levels of bad cholesterol and raising the levels of good cholesterol. Because of its antioxidant properties, dark chocolate reduces the risk of several types of cancer and of premature aging.
Because of its ability to reduce bad cholesterol levels, dark chocolate is beneficial for good heart health and for prevention of coronary diseases. It also reduces the risk of dying after the first heart attack.
Interestingly, dark chocolate promotes good teeth too. This is because it contains theobromine, a component which prevents cavities and helps in enamel strengthening.
Dark chocolate, being a protein-rich food, is particularly recommended for cancer patients is chemotherapy, because it increases the appetite.
Dark chocolate is known for its ability to improve mood, by boosting endorphins and serotonin production.
All these benefits can be obtained only if dark chocolate is consumed in small amounts. If consumed in excess, dark chocolate can cause several problems, like tooth decay, kidney stones, obesity, anxiety, headaches, irritability, insomnia and hypertension.