Here we will talk about the hot chocolate or dark chocolate, whatever you like to call it. Hot chocolate drink is a solution of shaved or melted chocolate and milk or water. Topping of whipped cream or marshmallows can take its taste to another level.
It would be interesting to know that it is famous as “cacao, the food of the gods”. The rich taste, pleasing and soothing smell, and health perks totally justify the title of “The Food of the Gods” given by the Mayans. Not only the spellbinding taste and smell, hot chocolate also has some health perks.
Without any further delay, let’s count the health benefits of hot chocolate. Here are the top 10 health perks of hot chocolate:
2.Triggers brain activity
4.Help lose Weight
7.Prevents type-2 diabetes
8.Restrain heart diseases
9.Regulate blood circulation
Surprisingly, the hot chocolate is consumed as an anti-depressant. As chocolate contains serotonin, a neurotransmitter which acts as an anti-depressant, so you can get relief by having a recommended dose of hot chocolate. Additionally, it also causes the production of endorphins that is a pleasure hormone and a natural painkiller.
2. Triggers Brain Activity
The regulated supply of blood to the brain, the more efficient it will work. The hot chocolate potentially works as a powerful tonic in treating mental disorders. Chocolate has major flavanols like catechin and epicatechins which are extremely helpful to stimulate the stunned brain.
Moreover, these flavonoids boost the blood flow towards the brain and provide oxygen to its crucial parts for their active participation.
In this regard, Dementia is a critical situation caused by reduced blood flow to the brain, leading to a decline in mental activity. So drinking cocoa not only helps to treat dementia, but it also prevents the onset of any neurodegenerative disorder.
Neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer‘s are also caused by a declined blood flow to the brain. It’ll be interesting to know that drinking hot chocolate on a regular basis triggers memory and learning ability. Do not forget to drink a cup of hot chocolate before the preparation for your exams.
3. Anti-Cancer Agent
One more significant use of hot chocolate is as an anti-cancer agent. As hot chocolate is enriched with flavanols, one major class of flavonoids, these flavanols are used to treat cancer.
These flavanols possess the antioxidant property; due to this trait they have a therapeutic effect. Further, these antioxidants reduce oxidative stress by neutralizing the free radicals present in the body which may cause a minor inflammation or cancer.
It is a proven fact that flavanols work with other ingredients in cocoa such as procyanidins and act as anti-proliferative and chemo-preventive agents, which are used in the treatment of colorectal and prostate cancer.
4. Weight Loss
Don’t, rub your eyes!
You read it right.
Yes, having hot chocolate helps you losing weight. But before eating a bowl of chocolate, let’s have a clear idea that hot chocolate and the sweat chocolate available in packets are two different things.
Furthermore, people always get confused between hot chocolate and sweat chocolate. Hot chocolate or Cocoa is a bar of chocolate without cocoa butter and sugar. It is a low calorie treat. So, without crossing the moderate limit, you can eat cocoa while you are on a diet.
To your surprise; it is suggested by fitness trainers to add some cocoa powder in your protein shake before the workout because it fastens the fat burning metabolism. Cocoa powder is rich in fiber, makes you feel full. Fiber also aids in detoxifying the body by removing waste from it.
Apart from other weight gaining factors, mental stress is also one of the reasons for weight gain. So, the serotonin present in cocoa lessens the stress and boosts your energy to defeat the weight gain issues.
5. Dental Care
Yes, you are getting right; dark chocolate is thoughtful for dental care. It has more than 300 chemical compounds that work against tooth decay, plaque formation, and cavities.
Remember, it is dark chocolate which does not have sugar in it. Mostly, teeth decay happens when bacteria convert the sugar into acid which corrode the enamel of teeth. Recent studies have proved that cocoa bean husk (CBH) is more effective than fluoride in preventing tooth decay. Till now, the CBH got successfully tested on animals. The day is not far, when fluoride will be replaced by CBH in toothpaste and mouth fresheners.
Besides the CBH, the Theobromine present in cocoa hardens the outer surface and provides shine to teeth. It also has antibacterial ability to kill streptococcus mutants that are famous for dental cavities.
6. Skin Care
In addition to other benefits, the hot chocolate has flavonoids which hold office for UV protection. Because of this reason, people who take dark chocolate are less likely to skin burn. As hot chocolate is well heeled with antioxidants so for this reason it lessens the possibility of free radicals to damage the skin cells by neutralizing them.
Additionally, it also serves as a moisturizer and staves off the wrinkles.
7. Regulate Blood Circulation
It is a proven fact that the cocoa is fully loaded with naturally occurring polyphenolic compounds called flavonoids. These compounds have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-proliferative, anti-aggregating, and many such abilities that contribute towards its therapeutic nature.
Due to the presence of Flavanols in hot chocolate, the hot chocolate balances the availability of nitric oxide (NO) in healthy subjects. In hypertensive patients, cocoa intake elevates the bioavailability of NO which is responsible for vasodilation and improves the blood flow.
8. Prevent Type-2 Diabetes
In type 2 diabetes, patients get less sensitive to insulin. Blood glucose level gets elevated due to short production of insulin. Here, Insulin is a hormone produced by beta cells of the pancreas. It regulates glucose concentration in blood. Further, it keeps glucose in optimum range; not too high to damage the body cells and not so low that there is no ATP production. As beta cells supervise insulin production, the truncate production of insulin represents the beta cells’ malfunction. As Beta cells are receptive to oxidative stress therefore flavonoids’ anti-oxidant ability would be helpful to deal with beta cell malfunction.
Flavanol called catechin gets the best choice award. Catechin empowers the mitochondria of the beta cells thus producing more ATP which in turn increases insulin production.
9. Restrain Cardiac Diseases
It is explained above that how hot chocolate regulates the blood flow throughout the body and Cocoa is abundant with polyphenolic compounds such as procyanidin, catechin, epicatechin, and magnesium (Mg), both interact with each other and improve the heart health. Furthermore, the polyphenols prevent platelets to intermingle and clot formation in blood vessels. Blood clots and plaque formation are the main cause of cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, the polyphenolic compounds provide elasticity and widen the arteries while Magnesium strengths the heart. Thus, it overall decreases the risk of suspected cardiac failure.
Some Side Effects of Hot Chocolate
Once we talk about hot chocolate or cocoa, there are countless health benefits that negative effects don’t get noticed. Actually, there are not such harmful effects of cocoa.
Now, it does not mean that diabetics start eating more chocolate. We are talking about cocoa “a healthy chocolate” which has high flavonoids content. Just take a bird’s eye view of ingredients before consuming any hot chocolate drink; some may have sugar or cocoa butter.
On the other hand, a regular chocolate bar has saturated fats and sugar content which contribute to obesity, high blood pressure, and elevated blood glucose.
Hot chocolate is a delicious super drink that is made from cocoa beans. Cocoa beans are ground well and after excluding sugar hot chocolate is obtained.
Hot chocolate is well to do with flavanols; a class of flavonoids. Flavonoids work as an anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, and save us from heart diseases. Still, research work is happening in how we can get the most out of hot chocolate. The optimum daily dose of cocoa is not clear yet. The EFSA recommends 2.5 g of high-flavanol cocoa powder or 10 g of high-flavanol dark chocolate in the context of a balanced diet, still the subject of cocoa dosage is under discussion.