Chocolates are regarded as the most sinful food as they are rich in taste, calories and richness of flavour. But its health benefits, though recognized from ancient time, have not entered the consideration of the popular imagination
Recent studies all over the world have revealed substantial health benefits of chocolates, especially dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains high percentage of cocoa and as such is particularly healthy. At the same time, chocolates are rich in calories, so they must be consumed in moderation.
Here are some of the benefits of chocolate (especially dark):
- Full of nutrition: Chocolate is rich in nutritious such as fibre and minerals. For instance, a bar of chocolate consists of Iron, Magnesium, and copper, Manganese, Selenium, Zinc, Potassium and Phosphorous.
- It is a rich source of anti-oxidants: Dark chocolate is rich in compounds, which are biologically active and serve as anti-oxidants. These are catechins, polyphenols, flavonols, etc.
- Improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure: Flavonols in chocolate encourage the lining of arteries called as endothelium to release the gas, Nitric Oxide. NO sends signals to the arteries to relax, which lowers blocks to blood flow and as such maintains blood pressure at low levels.
- Prevents heart disease: Chocolate consumption can reduce certain factors contributing to heart disease. Cocoa powder substantially decreases LDL cholesterol that is oxidized. It increased HDL as well as lowered LDL in persons suffering from high cholesterol. By oxidation is meant that bad cholesterol, LDL has reacted with free radicals in the body. Oxidized LDL is capable of damaging the tissues like arteries of your heart. Cocoa lowers oxidized LDL in the body as it discharges a slew of powerful anti-oxidants. Chocolate also reduces resistance to insulin- which is a cause for heart disease and diabetes.
- Lowers risk of cardio-vascular problems: Compounds in chocolate prevent oxidation of LDL cholesterol. One study found the reduced risk for cardio vascular problem in men consuming chocolates by an amazing 50%. Another study found reduction in calcified plaque in arteries by 30%.
- Protect skin: Flavonols found in chocolates can improve skin density and hydration, improve the flow of blood to the skin and protect from sun radiation induced damage to the skin.
- Improve brain function: According to one study, having cocoa with flavonols for four days results in improved blood flow to the brain. Cocoa may also enhance cognitive function in elderly persons, who suffer from mental problems. Dark chocolate has been found to improve memory.
- Authentic anti-depressant: Chocolates contain serotonin a natural anti-depressant. They also enhance the production of endorphins, which boost moods and feelings of happiness.
- Fights cancer: Chocolates fight cancer by lowering cell division and lessening inflammation.
- Reduces tooth decay: According to research, theobromine an element in chocolate helps prevent tooth decay. It removes streptococcus mutans, which is a bacterium residing in the mouth.
- Longevity: Studies have found persons consuming chocolates in a regular and moderate amount have less disease and live longer than others.
When you want to consider ideas for making gift baskets, you can opt for chocolate hampers as you are aware of its health benefits. For instance, you can send Christmas chocolates baskets to a loved one. This gift will be appreciated for its delicious taste as well as health benefits.