The product is richer in cocoa, and it contains more fat, and it contains fewer sugars. Lipids are more energetic than carbohydrates, so a 90% cocoa black chocolate is more caloric than a 65% product.
The energy aspect is the only disadvantage of dark chocolate vis-à-vis his little brothers (milk chocolate or white chocolate). Indeed, as soon as one approaches the nutritional qualities, it is day and night!
A reasonable consumption of three squares (30 grams) of dark chocolate with 70% cocoa brings only 160 kcal and allows to enjoy the many virtues of cocoa.
Cocoa: content of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants
Dark chocolate is particularly rich in certain minerals (715 mg of potassium, 228 mg of magnesium, 70 mg of calcium per 100 grams of product). Cocoa also contains, in smaller quantities, iron, sodium, manganese, and copper.
It also contains the following vitamins (A, B1, B2, C, D, and E) but in modest proportions.
Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, substances that fight against free radicals. By comparison, the antioxidant capacity of cocoa would be 2 to 3 times higher than that of green tea or red wine. Among these anti-free radicals:
✓ Dark chocolate contains polyphenols that enhance the intestinal mucosa, one of the main walls of our immune system.
✓ It contains flavonoids, antioxidants contained in the cocoa powder up to about 10%. These flavonoids found in cocoa play a role in preventing certain diseases, such as cancer, limit the presence of bad cholesterol (LDL), dilate blood vessels, helping to lower blood pressure.
Finally, note that dark chocolate contains dietary fiber (interesting for intestinal transit), and some of its fats are healthy (monounsaturated fatty acids). Studies show that even saturated fats from cocoa, namely stearic acid, would not adversely affect blood cholesterol.
The main active molecules of dark chocolate
This is a particular alkaloid present in dark chocolate. According to its cocoa content, the product may contain from 450 to 1600 mg per 100 gr.
Theobromine has multiple effects on humans:
✓ An action on the brain and the heart. This “booster” effect is explained by the fact that this molecule blocks the action of adenosine, which tends to slow nerve activity and promote sleep. For this, the cells are activated, adrenaline is released, the cardiac rhythm and wakefulness are increased.
✓ Action on cholesterol. Studies conducted in 2013 and involving 152 people have shown that consumption of theobromine in dark chocolate allowed to significantly increase the good cholesterol (HDL).
✓ An action on blood vessels, this molecule has the effect of dilating blood vessels and thus reduce blood pressure.
✓ An action on lipid metabolism. The chemical process is not easy to explain but theobromine student the content of a chemical messenger responsible for activating the degradation of adipose tissue.
✓ Pressing cough. By decreasing the activity of the vagus nerve, this molecule would have a greater antitussive effect than codeine-based syrups.
✓ antitumor effects and anti-inflammatory. Theobromine would inhibit the proliferation of certain enzymes promoting the development of cancer cells and inflammatory processes.
✓ If theobromine acts positively on man, it is, however, a poison for some mammals, such as dogs, for example. This toxicity can lead to the death of your pet by cardiac arrhythmia. You should never give them chocolate, especially if it is very rich in cocoa.
This is a challenging and psychostimulant molecule contained in dark chocolate. Caffeine causes an acceleration of the heartbeat and vasodilation of the blood vessels. This substance also acts at glycogenolysis and lipolysis (ability to mobilize reserves of sugar and fat to provide energy).
Its psychostimulant activity causes an improvement in the mood, the level of awakening and the intellectual performances. Although it is not recommended to consume dark chocolate before going to bed, a consumption of 2 to 3 squares a day high cocoa content should not be a problem for people sensitive to this molecule.
Finally, dark chocolate contains phenylethylamine, another alkaloid that is found naturally in the brain. The latter increases its manufacture during a sporting activity, participating in the post-training euphoria well known to athletes. This hormone is also produced in large quantities when one falls in love.
The phenylethylamine contained in the cocoa thus acts in a stimulating manner, in the manner of amphetamines. His increased presence increases the activity of nerve cells concerned by the state of pleasure or excitement.
Message to remember
Dark chocolate is, therefore, a food of pleasure but also a product with very great nutritional richness.
However, beware of milk chocolate because, although it contains cocoa, studies show that the absorption of its active molecules (including antioxidants) may be hindered by the presence of milk in the product.