In this never-ending game of what to eat and what not to in PCOS, which category does dark chocolate lie in? What if we told you it falls in the former? What? Dark chocolate for PCOS? Yes. Grab a piece and enjoy this read.
Dark Chocolate: Nutritional Profile
|Nutrient||Dark Chocolate (70 to 85% cocoa)||Dark Chocolate (60 to 69% cocoa)|
|Energy||598 kcal||579 kcal|
|Water||1.37 g||1.25 g|
|Protein||7.79 g||6.12 g|
|Fibre||10.9 g||8 g|
|Total Lipids (fat)
||42.6 g 24.5 g 12.8 g 1.26 g 0.03 g||38.3 g 22 g 11.5 g 1.22 g 0.079 g|
|Carbohydrates||45.9 g||52.4 g|
|Sugars||24 g||36.7 g|
|Calcium||73 mg||62 mg|
|Iron||11.9 mg||6.32 mg|
|Magnesium||228 mg||176 mg|
|Phosphorus||308 mg||260 mg|
|Potassium||715 mg||567 mg|
|Sodium||20 mg||10 mg|
|Zinc||3.31 mg||2.65 mg|
|Copper||1.77 mg||1.25 mg|
|Manganese||1.95 mg||1.32 mg|
|Selenium||6.8 µg||8.4 µg|
|Theobromine||802 mg||632 mg|
|Caffeine||80 mg||86 mg|
Dark Chocolate: Benefits for PCOS
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder getting increasingly common among women of reproductive age. High levels of male hormones called androgens in PCOS cause problems with ovulation, and PCOS symptoms such as irregular menstrual cycles, weight gain, excessive facial hair, and acne.
How is dark chocolate good for PCOS patients? Dark chocolate is not only a great relish but also has a wide range of health benefits when you have PCOS. The high amount of cocoa flavanols in dark chocolate have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which may help to improve PCOS symptoms. It is also a rich source of minerals like magnesium, zinc, copper, and calcium, which may be lower in concentration in women with PCOS.
Here’s how dark chocolate can help you improve your PCOS symptoms.
Increases Insulin Sensitivity
Dark chocolate is thought to have 4 times the amount of flavonoids present in tea. The antioxidants in cocoa may improve insulin resistance by reducing oxidative stress caused by the free radicals in your body, improving endothelial function and altering glucose metabolism.
Studies suggest that indulging in dark chocolate for 2 weeks appears to be an effective way to reduce perceived stress in females. It reduces the levels of stress hormone cortisol as well as the “fight-or-flight” hormones known as catecholamines in your body. Thus, it prevents the excess cortisol in your body from causing insulin resistance.
Studies also suggest that flavonoids and polyphenols present in dark chocolate may help to combat chronic fatigue caused by PCOS by protecting the cells in your body from oxidative stress.
Help With Weight Loss
The theobromine and phenylalanine content in your dark chocolate are a precursor of mood-elevating hormones like serotonin and dopamine. These hormones regulate your mood and help to suppress your appetite, which in turn helps you lose weight.
Studies also suggest that dark chocolate may use levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin. Additionally, dark chocolate has fibre, which can keep you feeling fuller for longer and prevent overeating. Thus, dark chocolate can help you lose weight in various ways.
Reduces High Blood Pressure
Studies suggest that women with PCOS are 40% more likely to have high blood pressure than non-PCOS women. Flavonoids have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can prevent damage caused to the endothelial cells in the inner linings of your blood vessels.
Damaged endothelial cells and chronic inflammation are usually seen in the starting stages of hypertension and can lead to clogged and narrowed arteries.
Dark chocolate also helps increase the levels of nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide widens your arteries by causing the smooth muscle around your blood vessels to relax, which lowers your blood pressure levels.
Dark chocolate is also high in potassium, which can help excrete excess sodium from your body. Dietary potassium stabilises your blood pressure by excreting excess sodium and water through urine.
Improves Heart Health
PCOS may cause high levels of low-density lipoprotein ( LDL or bad cholesterol) levels and low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL or good cholesterol) in your body, which can increase the risk of heart disease.
Some studies suggest that consuming dark chocolate regularly can help lower bad cholesterol levels while improving good cholesterol levels in your body. This prevents plaque (fatty deposits in the artery walls) formation and narrowing of arteries, thus reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Reduces the Risk of Stroke
Adding to the above effect, dark chocolate has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic activity and is able to prevent blood from clotting and reduce your risk of stroke.
Dark chocolate provides an ample amount of iron, which is vital for women with PCOS. You may experience low blood levels in your body due to heavy bleeding during your menstrual cycle in PCOS.
The iron in dark chocolate may help produce haemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carry oxygen to different parts of your body and improve your blood count. The iron content in dark chocolate may also help balance your hormones.
How and When to Consume Dark Chocolate for PCOS?
Choose a bar of dark chocolate high in cocoa content (above 70%) and low in sugar. The darker the chocolate, the higher the cocoa content.
There is no fixed time for when dark chocolate has to be eaten. You can enjoy some dark chocolate as a dessert or as a snack between meals. You can add dark chocolate to your cereal, oatmeal, or smoothies. You can also use it as a drizzle or topping or drink it in the form of hot chocolate.
How Much Dark Chocolate in a Day is ok for PCOS?
Though dark chocolate is good for PCOS, it is still high in saturated fats and calories and can cause weight gain if consumed in excess. You can consume 30 to 60 grams of dark chocolate in a day.
What are the Risks of Overconsumption of Dark Chocolate for PCOS?
- Dark chocolate often contains high levels of theobromine and caffeine. Excessive consumption of theobromine and caffeine can cause headaches, loss of appetite, restlessness, reduced quality of sleep, etc.
- Eating too much chocolate can cause weight gain as most chocolate is rich in saturated fats.
- Consuming too much dark chocolate may lead to slowing down the blood clotting process. It can be risky, especially for those with bleeding disorders or haemophilia.
What Other Health Benefits Does Dark Chocolate Have?
Dark chocolate can improve antioxidant activity in your body. It fights the free radicals produced in your body and improves the blood flow to your skin, which rejuvenates and makes your skin look healthy. Studies also suggest that dark chocolates with high flavonoids can protect your skin from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun.
Don’t Have Time To Read?
- Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, fibre, iron, potassium, magnesium, copper, and several other micronutrients.
- Dark chocolate can be consumed in PCOS as it can help improve insulin sensitivity of your cells, promote weight loss and heart health, and reduce stress, fatigue, blood pressure, anaemia, and the risk of stroke.
- Limit your consumption of dark chocolate to 30 to 60 grams a day. You can eat dark chocolate in any form, between meals, after meals as a dessert, or added to your breakfast bowls, smoothies, or hot beverages.
- Eating too much dark chocolate can cause headaches, loss of appetite, loss of sleep, etc., due to its high theobromine and caffeine content. It may also cause weight gain or slow down the blood clotting process.
- Start your PCOS management journey with Phable. Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading gynaecologists, endocrinologists, nutritionists, and dieticians; order medicines; book lab tests; and get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Check out our store to order healthy treats, weighing scales, fitness bands, and more! We also have a PCOS Management program that provides 360º care.
Dark chocolate that contains 70% or more cocoa is good for PCOS. The darker the chocolate, the higher the antioxidants present in it, which is a key component that may help improve your PCOS symptoms.
Yes, PCOS patients can eat chocolate. However, they should choose dark chocolate, which is high in cocoa content and low in sugar. Dark chocolate is considered suitable for PCOS as it improves the insulin sensitivity of your cells and promotes weight loss.
Yes, dark chocolate is good for periods. The magnesium content in dark chocolate can relax your muscles and help ease menstrual cramps. Also, the flavonoids present in dark chocolate help reduce hormones and enhance your mood, thus helping manage your periods better.
There are several benefits of dark chocolate for PCOS as it is a good source of antioxidants, flavonoids, iron, magnesium, copper, potassium, and calcium. It improves insulin sensitivity in your body and promotes weight loss, thus helping manage the symptoms of PCOS.