Dark Chocolate
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Dark chocolate lovers, here's something fun for you! Eating good quality dark chocolates, at the right time, can actually be beneficial for you. 
Dark chocolate lovers, here's something fun for you! Eating good quality dark chocolates, at the right time, can actually be beneficial for you. 
Elaborating the same is lifestyle coach Luke Coutinho in one of his live sessions on Facebook. He highlights the importance of intake of right kind of foods that support angiogenesis, DNA and gut microbiome in the body. One such food is dark chocolate, which if consumed in the right pattern and quantity, can benefit your body.
 
It is also important to source the right kind of dark chocolate from the market and not the one which is loaded with white refined sugar.
 
Dark chocolate: The many health benefits it offers
 
Before going ahead with the benefits of dark chocolate, let's find out what cacao is. Chocolate comes from cacao, a plant that contains high levels of minerals and antioxidants. Commercial milk chocolate is made up of cocoa butter, small quantities of cacao, sugar and milk. Dark chocolate, on the other hand, contains larger amounts of cacao, and lesser amount of sugar than milk chocolate.
 
1. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants
 
Consumption of unhealthy diet, poor lifestyle and air pollution together contribute to free radicals in your body and antioxidants are required to reduce damage caused by these free radicals. Antioxidants protect us from premature ageing and onset of diseases. Dark chocolates are rich in beneficial antioxidants that are good for your heart health. It can increase good (HDL) cholesterol and reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol. Presence of antioxidants in dark chocolates also helps in reducing inflammation and blood pressure.
 
2. Dark chocolate is naturally rich in fibre, iron and magnesium
 
These nutrients together help in relaxing your arteries and are great for your blood pressure levels. They are also beneficial for improving insulin sensitivity. Iron content in dark chocolates can be helpful for women during their periods to cope up with blood loss. Dark chocolate is also rich in copper and manganese.
 
3. They are good for skin
 
Manganese, a trace mineral in dark chocolate, is important for production of collagen for skin. Lack of manganese can make you look older than your age. It can also result in loose or sagging skin.
 
4. Great for brain function
 
Dark chocolates contain potassium, zinc, selenium and electrolytes that can improve your brain function. They support angiogenesis-a process in which enables the body to create new blood vessels. If angiogenesis is working just right in your body, it will enable your heart to build new blood vessels as a diversion and continue with blood circulation. Including them in your diet can reduce risk of Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.
 
5. They are a rich source of healthy fats
 
Fats are an important macronutrient for the body. They provide the body with energy and support cell growth. Fats are required to keep the body warm and facilitate absorption of fat-soluble Vitamins- Vitamins A, D, E and K. Including dark chocolates in your diet can provide you with healthy fats.
 
6. Dark chocolates contain polyphenols and flavonols
 
Endothelial lining inside the arteries offer protection from cholesterol and build-up of plaque in arteries. Polyphenols and flavonols in dark chocolates can stimulate endothelial lining to produce nitric oxide - which is excellent for relaxing your arteries.
 
7. Stem cell regeneration
 
Antioxidants in dark chocolate can help in regeneration of our stem cells. The healthier your stem cells, the better is your recover from diseases like cancer, tumours and cysts.
 
8. Gut health
 
Dark chocolate can act as a prebiotic and can be beneficial for your gut microbiome.
 
How much dark chocolate is safe for consumption?
 
According to Luke, an adult person can consume 2-3 pieces of dark chocolate in a day. Make sure that variety of dark chocolate that you are buying contains cacao. Avoid overeating as that will nullify the benefits that dark chocolates provide.