Dark chocolate is an excellent source of flavanols, a type of polyphenol that is beneficial to our health. Flavanols are naturally occurring compounds found in many foods, including tea, red wine, and grapes. Unlike milk chocolate, which is mostly made of sugar, dark chocolate is made from cocoa, a substance higher in cocoa than milk. According to Kris Sollid, senior director of nutrition communications at the International Food Information Council, “Dark chocolate contains flavanols, a group of plant compounds with antioxidant activity.”
Studies have shown that dark chocolate can help improve blood pressure and lower oxidized LDL cholesterol. It also decreases heart disease risk. Observational studies suggest that dark chocolate contains bioactive compounds known as flavanols, which protect against the damaging effects of the sun. They improve blood flow to the skin and increase the density of the skin. A minimum erythemal dose (MED) of exposure to UVB rays causes redness 24 hours after exposure.
Theobromine and caffeine found in dark chocolate help maintain cardiovascular health. They also produce nitric oxide, a substance that relaxes blood vessels and reduces blood pressure. While many studies are observational, some have been conducted on people who eat moderate amounts of dark chocolate. As these studies have been underpowered by the fact that many participants underreport their consumption of chocolate, they are not conclusive enough to suggest causality. Nevertheless, a recent meta-analysis in the journal Nutrients acknowledged that these benefits are real.