The science, chocolate comes from the bean of the cocoa tree. Cocoa contains an antioxidant called flavanol, the higher the flavanol content the more health benefits are contained in the not so secret treat loved by millions. Many cocoa producers process the beans with alkali (or some chemical that is lower on the pH scale) the amount of flavanol is lower in that cocoa.
Ok enough of the science. Cocoa our delicious treat, melted on ice cream, mixed into brownies, baked into cookies, snatched on impulse at the grocery check-out counter. The following are several health benefits of eating chocolate, the caveat is that to make cocoa less bitter sugar is added. So, moderation is the key to getting the most from the health benefit of chocolate.
How Healthy is Chocolate?
Chocolate is good for your heart, could that be why it is the number one gift at Valentine’s Day? We don’t know the answer to that question, we do know that it helps to open vessels by lowering your LDL or “bad” cholesterol and blood pressure. Flavanols stimulate nitric oxide which helps to dilate arteries and veins to improve circulation and increase the HDL or “good” cholesterol. Studies have shown some signs of reducing insulin resistance.
Chocolate the Cancer Buster
Chocolate contains several antioxidants flavanols are one and polyphenols are another, by stopping the free radicals antioxidants stop the oxidative stress process in cells. Oxidative stress can lead to diseases like heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, arthritis, and many others. Working on the immune system to reduce inflammation in the body. Some studies have shown some signs of reducing insulin resistance.
Cocoa is nutritious according to the USDA 101-gram bar of 70-85 % Dark Chocolate will give you 7.87 g of protein, 43.06 g of Fat, 24.23 g of sugar, 11.00 g of dietary fiber, with additional Iron, Magnesium, and Zinc. Dark chocolate has less sugar in it than its counterpart milk chocolate.
While eating in moderation is good, the darker the better is the rule of thumb. Moderation is still the best policy with the higher levels of fat and of course, there’s a little bit of sugar eating too much of a great thing can be bad for your health.
What Does This Mean?
Cocoa’s flavanols can help with diseases like cardiovascular disease by reducing bad cholesterol, possibly cancer, arthritis, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Chocolate is full of flavanol which helps to reduce stress in your cells, but most of certain endorphins making us feel good inside and out. Moderation is still the best policy with the higher levels of fat and of course, there’s a little bit of sugar eating too much of a great thing can be bad for your health.