World Chocolate Day 2022: Lesser-known health benefits of chocolate you probably didn’t know

It is World Chocolate Day 2022 today and chocoholics celebrate it by buying and sharing chocolates or whipping up their favourite treats. Observed on July 7 every year to commemorate the day chocolate was first brought to Europe. While fitness and health experts would caution you against overconsumption, there are health benefits of relishing this sweet delight in moderation. (Also read | World Chocolate Day 2022: Chocolatey Hot Pot, Chocolatey Pana Cotta, Choco Swirl Cake recipes)

There are many health studies that prove eating chocolates, especially the dark ones, has its own benefits. From being a powerful source of antioxidants, playing a role in improving cognitive function, a storehouse of minerals and with anti-inflammatory properties, there is every reason you shouldn’t completely remove this delicious food item from your diet and eat it in controlled quantities.

Dr. Kiran Rukadikar, Bariatric Physician and Obesity Consultant, celebrity nutritionist, and founder of DietQueen App talks about all the amazing benefits of having chocolate.

Full of antioxidants: Dark chocolate contains polyphenols, a powerful type of antioxidant that is also found in foods like berries, green and black tea, and red wine. These polyphenols help to defend the body’s cells against free radicals from environmental toxins and diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and chronic inflammation.

Lowers BP and cholesterol: Consumption of dark chocolate helps improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, lowers LDL blood cholesterol (bad cholesterol), increases HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), improves vascular function, and reduces the risk of stroke. Consuming dark chocolate daily for four weeks helped restore flexibility to arteries while also preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels.

Improves cognitive function: Eating dark chocolate provides an acute improvement in visual and cognitive functions. A study revealed “significantly increased self-rated calmness and contentedness relative to placebo” in participants who consumed a dark-chocolate drink mix for 30 days.

Mineral powerhouse: One ounce of dark chocolate—recommended daily serving—contains the following daily recommended doses of minerals: copper (25 percent), calcium (2 percent), iron (19 percent), magnesium (16 percent), potassium (6 percent), and zinc (6 percent).

Anti-inflammatory properties: Phytochemicals in dark chocolate have also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Just keep an eye on the sugar content, as sugar is an inflammatory food. To get the most anti-inflammatory benefits from chocolate, go for the high cocoa content and least amount of sugar.

Good for diabetes: Dark chocolate improves insulin sensitivity and reduced insulin resistance by decreasing glucose levels in non-diabetic adults.

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