5 Benefits of Chocolate That You May Have Missed

Chocolate is an excellent antioxidant

The oxygen that we are breathing allows our organs to function but it simultaneously triggers the production of a high number of free radicals that attack the body structures. The cocoa contains a large number of antioxidant substances that trap or neutralize the free radicals responsible for oxidation.

Here are some examples of comparison between the antioxidant properties of cocoa and that of other products:

  • Black tea: 4 to 5 times greater,
  • Green tea: 2 to 3 times greater,
  • Wine: twice greater.

Flavonoids and minerals (zinc, manganese, copper) contained in the cocoa are particularly active.

Chocolate diminishes blood pressure

Consuming 6 grams of dark chocolate, approximately two squares, would reduce blood pressure, according to a recent German study published in the Jama revue.

Based on the results, this level of consumption would diminish the systolic pressure (the first digit) by three points and the diastolic pressure (the second digit) by two points on average.

The study involved 44 adults between 56 and 73 and whose average pressure was equal to 147/86. After a diet of 18 weeks, with 6 grams of dark chocolate per day, the people of this group have experienced a significant decrease of blood pressure. Their propensity for high blood pressure went down from 86% to 68%. That was not the case for the “control” group who was offered white chocolate without polyphenols.

According to the authors of the study, this result of dark chocolate would be linked to the strong presence of polyphenol antioxidant.

Chocolate has an anti-stress effect

Dark and milk chocolates contain, respectively 112 mg and 60 mg of magnesium per 100 g.

To fight against stress and anxiety, nothing could be better than increase the consumption of magnesium. Numerous studies confirm that this mineral is a major element in preventing the negative consequences of stress and has a great capability to bring substantial reductions of plasma cortisol levels in the blood.

Magnesium deficiency leads to a loss of energy. This lack can be felt in many different ways: exhaustion, chronic fatigue, fatigability at effort… The lack of energy often has psychological consequences because it creates anxiety. When you feel good, you have more self-confidence and, if problems arise, you have the necessary energy to deal with them.

Various studies have also showed that a magnesium-rich diet reduces the likelihood of occurrence of heart attack, helps to lower blood pressure and decreases the probability of developing type 2 diabetes.

Furthermore, a magnesium-rich diet might have a beneficial effect on prevention and development of osteoporosis in menopausal women.

Chocolate is healthy during pregnancy

According to a study in the Epidemiology revue, chocolate would protect women during pregnancy. Eating good dark chocolate on a daily basis would thus reduce by 69% the risks for developing a pre-eclampsia, a complication of high blood pressure.

The study, performed by researchers from Yale University, was made on a cohort of 2291 pregnant women between 1996 and 2000. The scientists have estimated their chocolate consumption mainly through measuring the levels of theobromine in the umbilical cord. This component of the cocoa is particularly present in dark chocolate. The conclusions of the report show that the concentration of theobromine is associated with a lower risk of pre-eclampsia.

Chocolate is good for cholesterol

Blood carries the cholesterol in the blood vessels. Proteins are responsible for that operation. Some of them bring the cholesterol to the liver where it is used for digestion: this is the good cholesterol. Other wrongly programmed proteins tend to the cholesterol behind: this is the bad cholesterol that can clog the arteries.

Chocolate and cocoa can protect the organism against the bad cholesterol. Thanks to their flavonoids with antioxidant properties, they lower bad cholesterol levels and favor the production of good cholesterol. The vitamin B3 contained in chocolate also helps to reduce the clogging of arteries.

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