Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients that can positively affect and help lower the levels of “bad” cholesterol in the body. Made from the seed of the cacao tree, it is one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet.
Dark chocolate improves cholesterol levels
Studies show that dark chocolate (not sugary chocolate) can improve health and reduce the risk of heart disease and help you regulate cholesterol levels by increasing good cholesterol levels and helping lower LDL levels. (bad cholesterol).
Dark chocolate is very nutritious. If you buy quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, your diet will be quite nutritious. It contains a good amount of soluble fiber and minerals that make it an ideal product to improve cholesterol levels.
A 100-gram bar of dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa contains:
· 11 grams of fiber.
· 67% of the RDA for iron.
· 58% of the RDA for magnesium.
· 89% of the RDA for copper.
· 98% of the RDA for manganese.
· It also has potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium.
More benefits of dark chocolate
The fatty acid profile of cocoa and dark chocolate is excellent. Fats are mostly saturated and monounsaturated, with small amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids.
It also contains stimulants like caffeine and theobromine, but it is unlikely that it will be able to keep you awake at night as the amount of caffeine is very small compared to coffee.
Bottom Line: Quality dark chocolate is rich in fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, and a few other minerals.
Dark chocolate is a powerful source of antioxidants
Have you ever heard of a measure called ORAC?
ORAC stands for "oxygen radical absorbance". It is a measure of the antioxidant activity of foods. Basically, researchers in a group of free radicals evaluate how antioxidants in food can break them down.
The biological importance of this metric is questioned, because it is made in a test tube and cannot have the same effect on the body.
However, I think it is worth mentioning that raw, unprocessed cocoa beans are among the highest rated foods that have been tested.
Dark chocolate is loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants. These include polyphenols, flavonoids, catechins, among others.
One study showed that cocoa and dark chocolate contain higher antioxidant activity, polyphenols, and flavonoids than other fruits they tested, which included blueberries and Acai berries.
Increase HDL and lower LDL
Consuming dark chocolate can improve several important risk factors for heart disease. In a controlled trial, it was found to help significantly lower bad cholesterol. It also increased HDL and lowered total LDL in men with high cholesterol.
It contains a large amount of powerful antioxidants that travel through the bloodstream and protect lipoproteins against oxidative damage caused by bad cholesterol in the blood.
Dark chocolate can also reduce insulin resistance, which is another common risk factor for many diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
Bottom Line: Dark chocolate improves several important health risk factors. The susceptibility of bad cholesterol to oxidative damage is reduced, while HDL increases and insulin sensitivity improves.
If you exercise regularly, it will help you in maintaining a moderate weight & increase insulin sensitivity. Increased insulin sensitivity means the cells are better able to utilize the available sugar in the bloodstream. Exercise will also help muscles use blood sugar for energy and muscle contraction.