Delicious, smooth, and sinful - these words perfectly define chocolate. Okay ! Now you can strike that last word out. Ever since scientists and experts have begun praising the many health benefits of chocolate, this yummy treat is not that sinful or a guilty pleasure anymore.
Now that the world is finally been made aware of the many amazing health benefits of chocolate, eating the right product in the right quantity can help us a great deal.
Health Benefits of Chocolate
The good news is that chocolate is not bad for us. Eating chocolates may benefit your heart by reducing the LDL levels, protect against type II diabetes, lower your blood pressure, and improve brain functions. Chocolate also has anti-inflammatory properties, that help heart health.
Eating chocolate can also help reduce weight. Chocolate reduces cravings for sweets, snacks and other fatty desserts. Some studies indicate that chocolate might also improve vision due to improved blood flow in the body
Nutrition Facts of Chocolate
Chocolate is considered good for us because of its antioxidant properties. Chocolate contains flavonoids - a type of phytochemical that not only has antioxidant properties but is also good for the heart, brain, blood circulation, and fights aging. So it pays to eat more dark chocolate to reap more flavonoid health benefits.
Chocolate is also a rich source of iron, potassium, copper, and magnesium. It also contains phenylethylamine that helps the brain release more endorphins and in turn, improves our mood, making us feel happier.
The fine print of the health benefits of eating chocolate is that not all chocolate is good for us. Dark chocolate is the healthiest type of chocolate as it contains the most amount of cocoa and hence provides the most number of benefits. Any chocolate containing cocoa gives benefits in varied degrees. But the darker the chocolate, the better it is for us. Cocoa is a plant-based food source. Hence, chocolate is full of amazing health benefits. However, when we add sugar, milk, and fat to chocolate, it becomes a problem for us when we consume it in large quantities.
White - Not Right
White chocolate is technically not chocolate as it lacks cocoa as its main ingredient in the form of powder or solids. White chocolate contains cocoa butter, milk, sugar, and other flavors. In fact, white chocolate or milk chocolate is loaded with sugar and fat so there are really no health benefits of white chocolate. It is mainly good for satisfying our sweet cravings. If we could eat raw chocolate, the health benefits would have been enormous for us. A little sugar makes cocoa palatable and we are also able to utilize its immense health benefits.
Facts on Chocolate Fat
Cocoa butter contains oleic acid, which is the healthy fat also found in olive oil. But chocolate also contains some fats that are devoid of health benefits. One of these, stearic acid does not affect cholesterol and is rather harmless to us. The other harmful fatty acid, palmitic acid, raises cholesterol levels though it is present in chocolate in small quantities and therefore does not pose a big risk to our health. This in no way means chocolate is an 'eat all you want' kind of food. As is true for all foods, moderation is the key when it comes to eating chocolate.
The Right Bite
Dark chocolate filled with creamy centers and sweet caramels is in no way healthy for our heart even with the health benefits of chocolate flavonoids. The right way to get chocolate health benefits is to eat dark chocolate with minimal sugar and in moderation. With such premium health benefits it is now not necessary to feel guilty if we indulge in a bite or two of dark chocolate on a regular basis. So go on, indulge! You know you want to.