Chocolates Are Good For Health – A Sweet Truth
"Whether it's on topping on ice cream, filled with peanut butter or inside a wafer, chocolate is how many people satisfy a sweet tooth. Stirring the souls of chocolate lovers is a cutting-edge analysis showing the health benefits of chocolate. But is this true?"
Experts suggest that small amounts of dark chocolate are advantageous — but it's not intended to be a daily part of your eating plan.
But First, Not Just Any Chocolate Is Healthy
Sessions say that for the chocolate to come with health benefits, it must be 70% cacao or higher, and low in sugar. A milk chocolate bar may contain as little as 10% cacao, while a dark chocolate bar may contain up to 90%.
Dark chocolate has about half the sugar of milk chocolate, making it more pleasant (meaning you eat less of it). Also, the added sugar in milk chocolate can mask other flavours and leave you to desire more.
Dark chocolate also has more fibre and minerals than milk chocolate, and the benefits don't stop there.
Chocolate Is A Good Source Of Antioxidants
Cacao, the raw form of chocolate, contains antioxidants. Cacao is a top scorer on the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) scale, which tries to quantify antioxidant levels in foods.
Antioxidants are efficacious molecules that can help:
- Lower blood pressure
- Protect the brain
- Increase blood circulation
The best sources are cocoa powder or cocoa tips, which can be used for components in place of conventional chocolate chips or added to foods such as shakes and cakes.
Chocolate Improves Brain Function
Chocolate comprises the chemical compounds phenylethylamine (the love compound) and serotonin (a neurotransmitter that assists calm us) both are naturally occurring compounds in the body that evoke emotions of euphoria.
Chocolate Reduces Stress
Chocolate contains flavanols, which are naturally occurring synthetic mixtures found in cocoa and other plant-based foods that can reduce stress-causing cortisol levels in the blood. Enjoying a tiny piece of good-quality dark chocolate right before a stressful event can be an excellent strategy to help control stress.
Chocolate Is A Healthy Treat Only When Eaten In Moderation
Sessions suggest thinking of dark chocolate as a conscious indulgence that you eat sparingly in small amounts. So the next time you bite into some dark chocolate, savour it — and know it's good for you!
Good-quality dark chocolate with a high portion of cacao (70% or more) is still calorie-dense and, hence, is not intended to be an everyday component of our meal plans. As with all foods, practising moderation and mindfulness are advised to get the full benefit and enjoyment out of eating. Eat it slowly, and enjoy all the tangs, textures and taste sensations.
Dr Ahmer Ali Khan
Consultant – General Physician
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author. They do not reflect the opinions or views of the organization.