Many studies have been conducted in order to determine the beneficial effects of dark chocolate. It is known to contain numerous minerals which act as metal coenzymes, participate in the formation of some proteins, and contribute in muscle contraction, among others. The benefits of dark chocolate may have stemmed from the fact that it is rich in polyphenols such as epicathins, catechins, and procyanidins. These organic substances give dark chocolate its antioxidant properties. Given that, it is no longer a surprise that dark chocolate was found to decrease oxidized LDL, a contributing factor for the development of cardiovascular diseases. LDL is a liproprotein carrier that transports fatty acids and cholesterol from the liver to the peripheral tissues of the body. Once fatty acids react with free radicals, there is a chain of reaction that results in the formation of more free radicals. With the help of antioxidants, the chain reaction is terminated, thereby protecting the integrity of the cells within the body — particularly the red blood cells. see also : Health Benefits Of Cinnamon
Oxidized LDL could also lodge in the wall of the blood vessels which could attract debris and macrophages — which will lead to plaque formation over time. This condition is known as atherosclerosis which could rupture the blood vessel and cause a heart attack. Some studies also suggest that dark chocolate could lower blood pressure and improve blood flow because of the flavanols it has, particularly epicatechin. This substance was found to increase the bioavailabity and bioactivity of nitric oxide (NO) which signals smooth muscles in the blood vessels to relax and may decrease blood flow resistance and lower blood pressure. see also : Top 10 Benefits Of Recycling
The benefits of dark chocolate do not simply end there as a recently published research says that with the help of the bacteria found in the colon, consuming dark chocolate could prevent the inflammation of cardiovascular tissues. This is because the polyphenols from dark chocolate such as catechin and epicatechin can be converted to anti-inflammatory molecules when fermented. This may help explain why dark chocolate can help alleviate cardiovascular health problems with regulated consumption.
Aside from lowering the risk for cardiovascular diseases, it was also found that dark chocolate helps improve insulin sensitivity in both diabetics and non-diabetics. The sensitivity to the said hormone is important as it signals glucose uptake by the cells in the body.
More studies are still under way in order to know more about the benefits of dark chocolates. This type of chocolate is not just known for being healthy but also for its distinct bitter taste which is imparted by the high concentration of cacao that normally ranges from 70%-99%. Also, keep in mind that the higher the concentration of cacao in dark chocolate, the more polyphenols and minerals it has. So, when buying dark chocolate, it is important to note that the higher concentration of cacao it has, the healthier it is.
Modern methods in processing cacao beans are being proposed so as to preserve their antioxidant activity. This focuses on retaining most of the polyphenols found in the beans that are lost in conventional methods. By doing this, the produced dark chocolate would contain even more health benefits.