Statistics tells us that an average person consumes around 5 to 10 kilos of chocolate per year (people in some countries eat more and some less) and that is a lot of chocolate! We have always been advised to stay away from chocolate but what if there is a type of chocolate that can actually do a lot of good to us. The chocolate I am referring to is dark chocolate, it has loads of health benefits and medicinal uses. It is said to be good for our brain, heart, skin, cholesterol levels, weight loss and this applies to both men and women.
What Is Dark Chocolate?
Dark chocolate is made from cocoa beans | cacao which are actually the seeds of a plant called Theobrama Cacao. There are 3 varieties of chocolate that is commonly available, one is milk chocolate, the second is semi sweet chocolate and the third is dark chocolate.
A chocolate is considered dark, if it has 70 % cocoa solids or more. Semisweet chocolate usually contains 30 % cocoa solids and white chocolate contains around 10 % cocoa solids.
Dark chocolate contains the least amount of sugar and more of cocoa solids than any type of chocolate which makes it healthy compared to other chocolates. Foods and drinks made from cocoa beans have been consumed from ancient times and has wonderful healing properties.
Dark Chocolate Nutrition:
a. Dark Chocolate Calories, Vitamins & Minerals:
b. Antioxidants & Flavonoids In Dark Chocolate:
Dark chocolate contains more phenolic antioxidants than most foods as it is rich in flavonoids particularly falvanols. Flavanols are the reason behind the bitterness of cocoa.
Commercial chocolate producers to mask the bitterness, highly process it and add in sugar and other flavors. That is why dark chocolate contains 5 times more flavanols than regular chocolate as there are less additives.
The main flavanols found in dark chocolate are epicatechin, catechin and procyanidins and out of these three, procyanidins account for the majority of antioxidant activity.
Dark Chocolate Medicinal Uses:
1. Prevents Premature Ageing:
2. For Heart Health:
3. Anti Inflammatory Properties:
4. Reduces Blood Pressure:
5. Improves Insulin Resistance:
6. Prevents Cancer:
7. Positive Impact On Central Nervous System:
8. For Weight Loss:
9. Improves Immunity:
10. For Skin Protection:
Dark Chocolate Side Effects:
Like any other food consuming large quantity of dark chocolate will have side effects like headache, heartburn, etc. When buying dark chocolate always try to buy chocolate that contains 70 % cocoa solids or more and limit yourself to a small piece.
If you are a regular chocolate lover, you might find it difficult to consume bitter dark chocolate but you will get used to it very soon. I am not a chocolate lover but few years back I took a sudden liking to dark chocolate and I treat myself to a small piece of good quality dark chocolate often.
3 Amazing Ways To Use Dark Chocolate For Skin Care:
1. Dark Chocolate & Strawberry Face Pack:
This face mask leaves your skin absolutely soft and supple. For the mask, take dark chocolate in a a double boiler and heat till fully melted. Once melted fully, let it cool to lukewarm temperature, add equal quantity of strawberry puree and mix well. Apply this chocolate face pack all over the face. Wait for it to dry completely and wash it off.
2. Dark Chocolate Lip Balm:
Take 1 tsp of cocoa butter in a bowl, add in 1 tsp of dark chocolate chips to it and melt using a double boiler. Once melted add in few drops pure vanilla and mix well. Store it an airtight box and apply this lip balm everyday night before going to bed.
3. Dark Chocolate & Honey Facial Treatment:
This chocolate treatment is another of my favorites that is great for ageing skin. For the treatment, melt dark chocolate in a bowl, add in few drops of unprocessed raw honey and mix well. Apply this as a face pack, let it dry and wash it off. Regular use will delay wrinkles and fine lines.