Taking a Deeper Dive into the 3 Health Benefits of Chocolates

Taking a Deeper Dive into the 3 Health Benefits of Chocolates March 1, 2022

When it comes to chocolates, we’ve been taught since young that one shouldn’t overindulge – a feat, considering how tempting these decadent and succulent treats can be. Many have touted the health implications of eating these rich and sweet delicacies – from weight gain to heart disease. With the amount of bad press they have, you may find yourself thinking twice every time you wish to take another bite of your chocolatey dessert.

But what if we tell you that it’s not all bad news? This ‘unhealthy’ food can actually be very good for you. Here are 3 surprising health benefits that may just prompt you to pick your favourite chocolate goodness this very instant.

1. Powerful Source of Antioxidants

Besides being sweet, fruits and chocolates have another thing in common: plenty of antioxidants. Antioxidants are essentially substances that can prevent and slow down oxidative stress (damage to cells caused by free radicals). According to a study done by the Netherlands Journal of Medicine, raw, unprocessed cocoa beans contain biologically active phenolic compounds, which are essentially natural antioxidants. These include polyphenols, flavonols, and catechins, among many others. This means that the higher the cocoa percentage in a piece of chocolate, the more antioxidants it will carry! In fact, one study has shown that cocoa and dark chocolates have more antioxidant activity than many antioxidant-rich fruits like blueberries and acai berries.

2. Raises HDL and Protects LDL from Oxidation

One of the misinformed health risks associated with chocolate is heart disease; however, this is far from the truth. A controlled study has found that dark chocolates and cocoa powder possess a favourable effect of cardiovascular disease risk status by significantly reducing oxidised low-density lipoprotein (LDL), better known as ‘bad’ cholesterol, while also increasing concentrations of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as ‘good’ cholesterol. 

To put it simply, oxidised LDL cholesterol is capable of damaging other tissues. It moves rapidly into arterial walls and sticks to them. Apart from the accumulation, cholesterol will turn into plaque over time, effectively blocking the arteries. In the worst-case scenario, the plaque can rupture and send clots into the bloodstream, causing heart attacks.

Fortunately, due to its rich antioxidant properties, unsweetened dark chocolate and cocoa can help lower oxidised LDL cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart diseases.

3. Improve Cognitive Function

Research has shown that the polyphenols in dark chocolate can help the body produce more nitric oxide, a compound that causes blood vessels to dilate, allowing greater blood flow to all body parts, including the brain. Certain areas of the brain require more energy to complete their tasks, which means they need greater blood flow. This relationship, called neurovascular coupling, ensures the activation of brain structures. 

Moreover, a study conducted by Icahn School of Medicine indicated that a specific preparation of cocoa-extract called lavado may lessen or prevent damage to nerve pathways.

Light VS Dark Chocolate

Remember, not all chocolates are made the same! Pure cocoa powder and dark chocolate have high flavanol levels, whereas milk and white chocolate don’t possess as much. Since dark chocolates have a higher concentration of cocoa, it would stand to reason that they would also have higher levels of other forms of antioxidants, including polyphenols. If you wish to reap optimal benefits, consider opting for artisan chocolates rather than commercial ones you can easily find in grocery and confectionary shops, as the sweetness is derived from natural ingredients and sugar.

As an artisan chocolatier in Singapore, Laurent Bernard takes pride in painstakingly developing and moulding indulgent chocolates to satiate every chocolate connoisseur and more. We offer a long list of chocolate treats for you to choose from, including gift baskets, chocolate boxes and cakes. You’re guaranteed to fall in love at every bite, and the best part? You can revel in the above health benefits while you do so. Place an order by 2359 and enjoy next-day delivery.