The most appealing benefits of dark chocolate are its great taste and its mood-elevating effect.
However, there are less familiar, cocoa-rich interesting facts about chocolate that you should know about!
The interesting facts about chocolate relate actually to its health benefits rather than to its good taste! Cocoa and dark chocolate products have been recognized as significant sources of the flavanols catechin and epicatechin, as well as other substances with healthful effects.
Like some other plant-derived foods, flavanol-rich cocoa products have antioxidant properties. According to the latest researches, dark chocolate contains up to 3 times the antioxidants found in black tea!
This is one of the most interesting facts
about chocolate: Dark chocolate can help you get rid of various types of cough!
Cocoa beans contain Theobromine, which is chemically related to caffeine
(they both belong to the methylxanthine class of chemical compounds). However,
it lacks caffeine's stimulant effect on the central nervous system. Moreover,
theobromine has a suppressing effect on the vagus nerve, which is responsible
for causing coughing. As opposed to cough medicines that contain antihistamines
(and therefore may cause drowsiness and other side effects) - theobromine
appears to have no such negative effects.
However, Dark chocolate will not solve all types of cough! For example, if a chronic cough results from Gastro-esophageal Reflux, than the chocolate might even worsen the Reflux-symptoms, by inducing relaxation of the lower-esophageal sphincter (muscle).
Current health articles indicate that flavanol-rich foods - such as cocoa and cocoa products - induce cardioprotective effects with respect to vascular function and platelet reactivity. The flavanol-rich dark chocolate increases the bioavailability of Nitric Oxide, an important messenger molecule, that was shown to induce vasodilatation, improve vascular function, and reduce blood pressure and blood lipids.
Similar to low-dose aspirin, cocoa flavanols may improve platelet function by reducing platelet adhesion and aggregation. Moreover, stearic acid found in chocolate may reduce mean platelet volume. These effects can improve blood circulation and reduce the risk of blood clots, thus reducing the risk of stroke and myocardial infarction.
Cocoa-derived flavanols can reduce the production and effect of pro-inflammatory mediators in our body. Therefore, encourage-rich cocoa could contribute to the prevention of chronic diseases that are linked to dysfunctional inflammatory responses.
Flavanols and dietary antioxidants may improve insulin sensitivity and β-cell function, by increasing Nitric Oxide bioavailability. Consequently, while balancing total glucose intake, flavanols from cocoa products may provide some health benefit if included as part of a healthy diet for patients with diabetes.
Magnesium is a vital component to calcium absorption. It is also involved in many basic processes in our body, such as: nerve and muscle relaxation, regulation of blood sugar level, heart rhythm control, immune function and more. Dark chocolate is ultra rich in magnesium and can serve as one tasty source of magnesium.
Chocolate consumption has long been associated with reduced hunger,
elevated mood and increased activation. It may interact with a number of
neurotransmitter systems (including dopamine, serotonin and endorphins) that
contribute to mood elevation and satiety. Specific chocolate craving is
different than craving for sweets and carbohydrates in the context of
"emotional eating". If chocolate is consumed as part of comforting
emotional eating - it might aggravate guilt and dysphoric mood, rather than
provide a feeling of pleasure and joy.