Chocolate is a range of foods derived from cocoa (cacao), mixed with fat (i.e., cocoa butter) and finely powdered sugar to produce a solid confectionery. There are several types of chocolate, classified according to the proportion of cocoa used in a particular formulation. “Dark chocolate”, also called “plain chocolate” or “black chocolate”, is produced by adding fat and sugar to cocoa it is known to dark chocolate health benefits. It is chocolate with no milk or much less than milk chocolate. Dark chocolate can be eaten as is, or used in cooking for amazing dark chocolate health benefits, for which thicker, baking bars, usually with high cocoa percentages ranging from 70% to 99% are sold. Dark is synonymous with semisweet, and extra dark with bittersweet, although the ratio of cocoa butter to solids may vary.
Dark chocolate is enriched with many healthy compounds, medically known as flavonoids, that act as traditional curative remedies for treating various body ailments and offering various dark chocolate health benefits.
Dark Chocolate health benefits
Flavonoids present in chocolates are mainly Catechins and Epicatechins. Dark chocolate has a high level of Catechins, which boosts the human body’s immune system and possibly prevents major chronic ailments.
Even a small intake of dark chocolate boosts vascular health. It contains a lot of polyphenols and antioxidants. One of important among dark chocolate health benefits.
Good for Anaemia
The flavonoid compounds are useful in treating anaemic patients as well as those having poor dietary habits.
Eating a delicious piece of chocolate can possibly reduce stress levels; it works by stimulating the production of endorphins that may give rise to a happy feeling.
Stimulates Blood Pressure
Dark chocolate is rich in minerals such as magnesium and copper. These minerals aid in regulating normal blood pressure and subsequently maintaining proper heartbeat levels.
Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Dark chocolate has been proven to reduce the bad cholesterol levels in the human body significantly, up to 10-12%.
Eating dark chocolate not only relaxes the body, but also makes the blood vessels more flexible. It also boosts the functioning of the endothelial cells that line the blood cells. It also decreases the risk of developing innumerable cardiovascular diseases.
Rich in Antioxidants
Dark chocolate is a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants actually neutralize free radicals and other dangerous molecules that may be potential health hazards, causing diseases like cancer, premature aging, and heart disease.
The serotonin level in dark chocolate may act as an effective anti-depressant.
Dark chocolate is actually good for your skin. The antioxidants called flavonoids found in dark chocolate offer some protection from UV damage from the sun.
Because of chocolate’s ability to improve blood flow, in particular to the brain, chocolate may also increase blood flow to the retina, thereby giving vision a boost.
Improves memory and focus
Cocoa’s flavonoids penetrate and accumulate in the brain regions involved in learning and memory, especially the hippocampus. Chocolate contains some caffeine, a known brain booster that improves memory, mood, and concentration.
Help control food cravings
Eating a little dark chocolate has been shown to reduce cravings for junk food of all kinds — sweet, salty, and fatty. Consequently it can help you make healthy food choices, cut calories and lose weight.
Keeps Skin Healthy
Moderate amounts of dark chocolate health benefits in your diet can also help keep your skin healthy, glowing and flawless. The several antioxidants in dark chocolate protect the skin from free radical damage, which causes oxidative damage to cells. Free radicals can speed up the aging process. The cocoa extract present in dark chocolate helps reduce skin roughness and scaling as well as improves the skin’s hydration and complexion.
Heals Persistent Coughing
Dark chocolate contains a chemical known as theobromine that helps curb coughing by relaxing the nerve that triggers coughs.
Ways to have Dark Chocolate in diet (Dark Chocolate recipe)
Molten Dark Chocolate Souffle recipe
4 sticks butter, plus 2 tablespoons for the ramekins
Cocoa powder for dusting the ramekins
500gm bittersweet chocolate
8 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
8 teaspoons flour
- Butter the ramekins. Coat completely with a light layer of cocoa powder. Reserve.
- Preheat oven to 450 F.
- Place the chocolate and butter in a double boiler over a simmer and melt to combine.
- Meanwhile beat together the eggs, yolks and sugar until light and thick.
- Beat together the chocolate and butter and pour in the egg mixture slowly, beating as you go. Then mix in the flour until smooth.
- Pour the batter into the ramekins and bake on a tray in a 450 degree oven for 9 to 12 minutes. Cook time will depend on the shape of your ramekins and the actual temperature of your oven. Sometimes it’s best to make a batch of one ramekin to use as a test to gauge cooking time, then bake off the rest.
- The center will still be soft but the sides will be set. Invert each mold onto a plate and remove mold. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
Pistachio Truffles recipe
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 cups shelled, skinned pistachios (toasted if desired), chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- Combine cream, butter, and corn syrup in a saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Add 1 2/3 cups chocolate (do not stir); let stand 1 minute. Gently swirl pan until smooth. Pour into a bowl; chill, stirring every 15 minutes, until thick enough to hold shape (about 45 minutes). Using 2 spoons, shape the mixture into 1-inch balls (about 2 teaspoons each) and place on wax paper–lined plates. Refrigerate until chilled (15 minutes).
- Meanwhile, in a bowl set over a medium saucepan of simmering water, gently melt remaining 2/3 cup chocolate. Pour melted chocolate into one bowl and chopped pistachios and orange zest in another bowl. Dip each chilled truffle into chocolate first, then into pistachio-orange mixture, rolling to coat. Refrigerate until firm (about 8 minutes) or until ready to serve.