You know that Dark Chocolate is really healthy for you. It’s been advertised
as being good for us, but it can be hard to tell what’s real and what’s not. If
you’re not sure whether the benefits you’ve heard about are really available
from chocolate, here are some of the basics to help you decide.
Dark chocolate’s primary benefit comes from flavonoids, a type of substance
that falls under the umbrella of antioxidants. Many of the diseases we suffer
from can be caused or aggravated by oxidant damage to our cells. Antioxidants
can help reduce these problems, including some of the effects of aging, by
preventing the completion of the oxidant reaction.
They capture damaging free radicals, and can be very beneficial to us. Some
foods have more antioxidants than others. For instance, while they’re present in
strawberries, you’ll find almost eight times as much of these chemicals in dark
chocolate. Chocolate also has the ability to reduce blood pressure, since it
contains nitric oxide, and may help with internal hormonal balances.
It’s also been said that a small bar of chocolate daily can be good for your
heart. That’s because of the aforementioned blood pressure benefits, and also
the fact that it can help reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol as much as ten percent.
Chocolate also stimulates the production of endorphins and serotonin, contains
caffeine, theobromine and other stimulants, and tastes good. That means it has a
lot of appeal.
The downsides are that it takes a lot of chocolate to have a big effect, and
chocolate is a fairly fatty food. A third of the fats in chocolate are
monounsaturated, and two thirds are saturated and able to affect your
cholesterol. Another problem is that this high fat content, combined with the
sugar in chocolate, means weight gain is a possibility if you eat too much.
Studies have used about three and a half ounces of dark chocolate each day to
determine its benefits. That translates into about four hundred calories. While
that might not sound like much, consider that it’s the same as eating two small
doughnuts, and that an extra four hundred calories per day could result in a
gain of almost a pound a week.
That means that if you’re eating a lot of chocolate to get its benefits,
you’ll need to increase your activity level and adjust your diet accordingly to
avoid weight gain. To keep from eating too much, take the time to taste and
appreciate chocolate every time your consume it. These health benefits are also
available only from dark chocolate with sixty-five percent or higher levels of
Milk chocolate has much lower cocoa content and can’t offer those health
benefits, and white chocolate contains no cocoa at all. Chocolate bars made of
pure chocolate or chocolate with minimal flavorings are the best choice. Avoid
nougat, caramel, and similar fillings, which can reduce the benefits chocolate