Since it’s National Chocolate Week, I thought I’d share with you a few facts about dark chocolate and its benefits. There are a lot of studies out there trying to determine the exact benefits of consuming a controlled amount of dark chocolate regularly, and I have listed below some of them:
Packed full with nutrients – High cocoa content dark chocolate is proven to be quite nutritious, containing soluble fibers and minerals like: iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.
Source of antioxidants – Dark chocolate is full of organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants.
Roughly two small squares per day can help with…
Brain power – Cocoa antioxidants can help increase blood flow to your brain, improving cognitive processes and memory throughout the day, some studies show.
Keep the heart pumping – Some studies have shown that epicatechin (one of the compounds responsible for cocoa’s bitter taste) can lower blood pressure when consumed in controlled amounts.
Energy levels up – Some of the compounds found in the cocoa, can help your body stay energised by providing you with surges of extra energy.
Although chocolate does contain some amounts of caffeine, the latter is not the main ingredient responsible for the energy surge. The darker the chocolate, the more energy it gives you and the more benefits it has.
Keep the good mood going – Some studies have shown that cocoa butter fats are responsible for triggering natural endorphins to help stabilise and improve the mood. However, don’t go straight for the chocolate every time you feel your mood lowering!
Whilst dark chocolate has its perks and is always a welcome treat, it should still be consumed in moderation (one or two squares per day) and you should only buy the quality bars, with 70% or higher cocoa content and as little sugar and flavouring as possible.
Having 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of chocolate in one go, be it even dark one, is a large amount to eat and it’s not recommended to be consumed in one day as it comes with a whopping 600+ calories and enough sugar to make it unhealthy. Make sure you have one or two squares per day as a treat and not a main source of calories and energy!
So enjoy dark chocolate responsibly and hope to see you at the gym!
Ben – Founder of Spartan’s Lane – http://www.spartanslane.com