Dark Chocolate (a.k.a Tableya, Pure Cocoa or Cacao) has many benefits that many of us may have forgotten due to the mixed information we get from folklores or even from misguiding articles. But, of course, an important note to remember is that "Dark Chocolate" is not the same as "Milk Chocolate" (or any other highly processed chocolate treats), with the latter being the type of chocolate that we should be wary of, especially if we are trying to lose weight or if we are being mindful of our health. Milk chocolate usually contains lots of sugar while Dark Chocolate is filled with antioxidants like flavanols that give our body loads of health benefits. So here are the wonderful benefits that Dark Chocolate can give us and why it should be part of our daily intake.
- HEART HEALTH. There are two kinds of fats naturally present in dark chocolate. Stearic Acid, a saturated fat in chocolates that doesn't increase blood cholesterol levels, and Oleic Acid, a monounsaturated fat that has a cholesterol-lowering effect. Two human studies were done studying the effect of chocolate on cholesterol and it actually raised the HDL or Good Cholesterol.
- BRAIN HEALTH. A research by Dr. Hollenberg from Harvard Medical School discovered that Tableya enhances the nitric oxide levels in our blood which, in turn, increases blood flow to the brain by 33%, thereby it can help prevent neurological diseases, like Alzheimer's disease. Aside from that, nitric oxide can also help regulate blood pressure by preventing atherosclerosis. So old beliefs on hot chocolate (sikwati) causing high blood pressure can now be considered false!
- ANTI-AGING. Who doesn't want to look and feel young? If u wanna stay young, then Tableya is for you. The key to maintaining a youthful body and skin is through taking in a lot of antioxidants, which then equals to a lot of anti-aging power. The amount of antioxidants Tableya has is amazing! According to a Cornell University research, a mug of hot chocolate had nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine and three times the antioxidants that of green tea!
- ANTI-INFLAMMATORY. Resveratrol, a compound that is present in tableya, has been found to have a strong anti-inflammatory effect which means that it can help the body heal faster, especially for people with chronic cases like diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
- GUT HEALTH. 70% of our immune system is actually in the gut. Tableya can help our bodies stay strong by increasing the good bacteria in our gut as it actually acts as a prebiotic, which basically means that it serves as food for good bacteria (which we know strengthens our immune system). And as a bonus, good gut health relates to better weight management!
- When buying dark chocolate, choose at least 70% dark.
- In making hot cocoa or "sikwati," buy 100% pure tableya or cacao.
- Drink 1-5 cups a day to experience great benefits.
Stay Young. Feel Young. Live Young!
Mark Joseph Ong, RND
Clinical Nutritionist Dietitian
DIETWISE NUTRITION CONSULTANCY