Continuing from where we stopped in Part I of this series, we would consider more health benefits of dark chocolate. It is important to note that although chocolates have many amazing benefits, we should not overdo it when it comes to consumption of chocolates. Overindulgence in chocolates can lead to rise in calories, and increase in pounds could cause a rise in blood pressure. Hence, to harness the many health benefits in dark chocolate, portion control is important.
Dark chocolate makes you feel good: Chocolate contains a very interesting chemical known as phenylethylamine (PEA), which is said to be the very same mood-altering chemical that your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love. Dark chocolate is very good for enhancing mood and mind, as phenylethylamine induces the brain to release “feel-good” endorphins. Chocolates help to increase the level of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is another “feel-good” chemical in the brain. Chocolates can also help serve as a mood-boost for women during Menstruation and premenstrual syndrome(PMS).
Chocolate can help lower blood pressure: Cocoa and hence dark chocolate is very rich in several plant nutrients. One class of these nutrients is plant phenols, known as cocoa phenols when found in cocoa, they are known to lower blood pressure. Chocolates are also rich in flavanols, another class of plant nutrients. Flavanols are the main type of flavonoid found in cocoa and it also helps lower blood pressure, and enhance the blood flow to the brain and heart.
Dark Chocolate is also good for your brain health: Because dark chocolate is made from cocoa and cocoa contains healthy amount stimulants such as caffeine, it leads to improved cognitive and brain function as it helps prevent memory loss especially in older people.
Dark chocolate should not be used as as a substitute for other healthy foods, instead it can be used to supplement them and can act as a form of healthy snack and as a substitute for sugary foods. Watch out for those chocolate that though dark in color contains some extra ingredients like caramel, fruity flavors, sugar, milk, cheese. These ingredients in the chocolate may lead to unnecessary weight gain, increase in calories and blood sugar.
It is interesting and highly enlightening to know of the many benefits present in dark chocolate, and particularly relieving because I can now take portions of chocolate without feeling guilty. However, I remind myself again that moderation is key.