The Benefits of Dark Chocolate
Chocolate is a food that many of us, big and small, love to consume. Chocolate, which has been among the most enjoyable foods to eat since childhood, is especially beneficial for health, especially the dark one. Decadal chocolate is a good source of vitamin C.
When we look at the historical development of chocolate; it probably started with the Mayans, who were the first people to grow the cocoa plant in South America. For the Mayans, chocolate was a cocoa drink prepared with hot water and usually flavored with cinnamon and pepper. It was called the ”food of the gods" and was created by the Aztecs by Emperor Alexander II. It was presented at Moctezuma's table.
Christopher Columbus was the first European to encounter cocoa in 1502. He had seized a canoe containing cocoa beans, considered "mysterious-looking almonds" and described as a currency in Central America. Cocoa appeared in Europe in 1528, when the Spanish conqueror Hernán Cortés brought samples of cocoa to King Charles of Spain and spread the great influence of the drink prepared from this "brown gold".
Today, it has taken its place in our lives as a food that many of us consume with love. Dark chocolate is often consumed by adults to sweeten the mouth. Chocolate is obtained from the cacao plant. The word “cacao” in English refers to the unroasted kernels of the cacao plant, while the word “cocoa” means processed kernels. Cacao-labeled products contain raw kernels, while cocoa-labeled products are processed chocolates or chocolate powders. Dark chocolate contains cocoa bean solids (up to 80% of the total weight) and cocoa butter. With the intense, persistent aroma of cocoa, it melts in the mouth and leaves a pleasant, bitter aftertaste. Its quality depends on the percentage of cocoa. Most of the health benefits attributable to chocolate are associated with the consumption of dark chocolate.
The Percentage of Cocoa Should Be at Least 70 Percent
Cocoa, the basic ingredient in chocolate, contains a significant amount of fat (40-50% as cocoa butter, about 33 percent oleic acid, 25 percent palmitic acid and 33 percent stearic acid). At the same time, polyphenols make up about 10 percent of the dry weight of a whole cocoa bean. Cocoa beans are one of the best-known sources of dietary polyphenols, containing more phenolic antioxidants than most foods. Three groups of polyphenols can be identified in cocoa beans: Catechins (37 percent), anthocyanidins (4 percent) and proanthocyanidins (58 percent); these flavonoids are the most abundant vegetable components in cocoa beans. However, the bitterness caused by polyphenols makes unprocessed cocoa beans quite tasteless. Therefore, manufacturers have developed processing techniques to eliminate bitterness. Such procedures reduce the polyphenol content up to 10 times.
Dark chocolate with a bitter-sweet taste contains more antioxidants than green tea. Flavonoids, which play an effective role in heart health and cancer prevention, make dark chocolate a “healthy food” when consumed in moderation. Dark chocolates with a low percentage of cocoa contain more sugar and unhealthy fats. Therefore, when buying dark chocolate, make sure that it contains at least 70 percent cocoa and does not contain sugar. Even though dark, chocolate is a caloric food and careful consumption. Dark chocolate is not the same as milk, white and ruby chocolate in terms of calories. As much as 28 grams of dark chocolate, which contains 70-85 percent cocoa, is 170 calories. Cocoa is also rich in minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, copper, iron, zinc and magnesium.
The benefits of dark chocolate, which can be consumed in a small piece at Decoupage, can be listed as follows:
Contains Powerful Antioxidants
Dark chocolate has organic compounds, especially flavonoids, polyphenols and catechins. These antioxidants neutralize free radicals, preventing oxidative stress, which damages cells and tissues. Oxidative stress can cause diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, cancer.
Helps Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
The two main risk factors for heart disease are high blood pressure and high cholesterol. There is a Decoupling between these two factors with the compounds in dark chocolate. The flavanols in dark chocolate stimulate the production of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide promotes the dilation of blood vessels, acceleration of blood flow and lowering of blood pressure. Dark chocolate can also raise good cholesterol (HDL) while lowering bad cholesterol (LDL) thanks to polyphenols and theobromine compounds.
Inflammation is the body's natural immune response to protect against disease and other harmful substances to which it is exposed. However, if the inflammation becomes chronic, it damages the cells and tissues. It can increase the risks of type 2 diabetes, obesity, arthritis and some cancers. In vivo and in vitro studies have shown that cocoa has regulatory properties on immune cells involved in both natural and acquired immunity. Dark chocolate contains compounds aimed at reducing inflammation. Studies show that dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70 percent has positive effects on the immune system. In another study, it was shown that the consumption of dark chocolate improves vascular function in overweight men. Again, in a study conducted with type 2 diabetes patients, people who regularly ate 30 grams of dark chocolate for 8 weeks showed an improvement in inflammation rates. However, more research is needed. Because it may be inconvenient for diabetics to consume chocolate constantly, even if it is dark, in order to benefit from the benefits of chocolate.
Can Balance Insulin
Insulin resistance is observed when the cells cannot respond to the hormone insulin. Insulin resistance means severely high blood sugar levels, which can lead to pre-diabetes (pre-diabetes) or type 2 diabetes. Cocoa and flavonols improve glucose homeostasis by slowing down carbohydrate digestion and absorption in the intestine. Cocoa and its flavonols reduce insulin resistance by regulating glucose transport and insulin signaling proteins in insulin-sensitive tissues (liver, adipose tissue and skeletal November), preventing disease-associated oxidative and inflammatory damage in these tissues. Regularly consuming a tiny piece of dark chocolate can help prevent insulin resistance while lowering fasting blood sugar. However, daily consumption of small amounts of flavonols in cocoa or chocolate, minimal toxicity and adverse side effects natural and economical approach to potentially prevent or treat Type 2 diabetes to contribute will create. However, most commercially available soluble cocoa products or chocolates contain low amounts of flavonols, are rich in sugar and calories. Jul. Thus, the high consumption of chocolate will cause paradoxical consequences, namely weight gain and impaired glucose homeostasis, especially in type 2 diabetics and obese individuals.
Sweet Precaution Against Brain Damage
One benefit of dark chocolate is also related to diseases that affect the brain. While dark chocolate improves brain function, it is generally supportive in preventing the damage caused by Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases that develop with age. Thanks to flavanols, it can increase neuroplasticity, which helps the brain regenerate against diseases. As a result of a study conducted in individuals aged 23-98 years, it was found that those who consumed dark chocolate more Decently showed better cognitive performance.
Good for Depressed Mood
The theobramine substance contained in dark chocolate causes an increase in energy and rapid decline, while the anandamide substance has a calming property. This substance gives spiritual healing and energy increase in the long term. The substance phenylethylamine is also good for the soul. When the body is unable to secrete the happiness hormone serotonin, the phenylethylamine substance in dark chocolate can help.
Although it is a calorie-dense food, dark chocolate is not just an empty calorie like most sweets. Containing water-soluble fiber that aids digestion, this bitter-sweet snack provides 2 in 3 of the daily iron requirement, more than half of the magnesium, manganese and almost all of the copper requirement. Manganese supports the production of collagen, which makes the skin look young and healthy. The fats of dark chocolate, which is also a storehouse of zinc, phosphorus, selenium and potassium, are also mostly healthy and consist of oleic acid.
In recent years, studies examining the effect of intestinal microbiota and nutritional patterns on microbiota and its effect on health have increased. When we look at the effect of dark chocolate on the intestinal microbiota, we see the effectiveness of flavonoids in increasing the diversity of intestinal bacteria. Studies have shown that the consumption of dark chocolate increases the diversity and quantity of beneficial bacterial species such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium and causes a decrease in tumor necrosis factor-α receptor gene expression in intestinal tissues.
How Many Grams of Dark Chocolate Can Be Consumed Per Day?
The benefits of dark chocolate are still being studied, but chocolate can have risks as well as benefits. One of them is the flavanols in dark chocolate. Flavanol contents can vary from chocolate to chocolate. Because the processing methods of chocolates are different from each other. This, in turn, affects the flavanol content. The higher the cacao content, the higher the flavanol content.
In addition to containing theobromine and caffeine contained in chocolate, it can be addictive because it also provides the secretion of endorphins known as serotonin and pleasure hormone. The desire to eat chocolate is also caused by a magnesium deficiency.