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HEALTH BENEFITS OF COCOA
PROMOTES WEIGHT LOSS:
Neuroscientist Dr Will Clower’s book ‘Eat chocolate, lose weight’ claims that eating chocolate 20 minutes before and five minutes after lunch and dinner helps to cut your appetite by up to 50 percent. Researchers credit flavonoids for reducing insulin resistance, weight-loss specialist and board-certified internist Sue Decotis, M.D., notes that dark chocolate also contains healthy fats, which slow the absorption of sugar into the blood stream. That helps prevent the dreaded insulin spike, which is famed for shuttling sugar straight into your fat cells. Insulin spikes turn off your body’s fat-burning mechanisms and make you hungry again several hours later.(Baker, 2016)
BRIMMING WITH VITAL NUTRIENTS:
Cocoa solids are packed with minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium that are of paramount importance to maintain a healthy body.
A 100 gram bar of dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa contains (RDA-
67% of the RDA for Iron.
58% of the RDA for Magnesium.
89% of the RDA for Copper.
98% of the RDA for Manganese
PACKED WITH ANTIOXIDANTS:
Cocoa solids (derived from cacao nibs) are loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants. These include polyphenols, flavanols, catechins, etc. ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. It is a measure of the antioxidant activity of foods (Gunnars, n.d.).
The graph below shows an ORAC comparison of cacao nibs alongside with fresh fruits.
BOOSTS BLOOD CIRCULATION AND REDUCES THE RISK OF STROKE
A recent study conducted by Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology found that dark chocolates help restore flexibility to arteries while also preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels – both common causes of artery clogging. (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, 27)
Researchers in Finland have also found that chocolate consumption lowers the risk of suffering a stroke - by a staggering 17 per cent average in the group of men they tested (Baker, 2016).
DECREASES BLOOD PRESSURE
According to a research in the journal of the American medical association. Cocoa polyphenols helped reduce hypertension from 86% to 68% in participants (44 total) aged 56-73 who consumed about 6 grams of Dark chocolate (containing 30 mg of polyphenols ) per day for 18 weeks. (Corti et al., 2009) (Anon., n.d.)
According to a research published in the American Journal of clinical nutrition, Polyphenols in cocoa powder & dark chocolates lower bad cholesterol (LDL) & aid in raising the antioxidant capacity of good cholesterol (HDL). (Smith, n.d.) (Grassi et al., 2005)
ENHANCES BRAIN ACTIVITY
Professor, Ian Macdonald of metabolic physiology at The University of Nottingham, used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to detect increased activity in specific areas of the brain in individuals who had consumed a single drink of flavanol-rich cocoa. The effect is linked to dilation of cerebral blood vessels, allowing more blood to flow and therefore more oxygen to reach key areas of the brain.
This research was also presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (Anon., n.d.).
REDUCES STRESS LEVEL
Chocolate contains Phenylethylamine (PEA), which is the same chemical that your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love. PEA encourages your brain to release which reduce stress levels (Baker, 2016).
CHOCOLATE IS A NATURAL COUGH SUPPRESSANT
Theobromine the alkaloid found in cocoa, is responsible for some of the pleasure you get from eating chocolate also suppresses the vagus nerve, which allows it to work as a cough suppressant. (Stark, 2014) (Usmani et al., 2004)