There are so many delicious ways to consume chocolate, from ice cream to cake, to the classic chocolate bar. But is chocolate good for you?
If you’re a true chocoholic, you know that other flavors like vanilla or cookie dough just won’t do! Whether we’re talking candy or pudding, chocolate is the only acceptable flavor. Well, for you chocolate lovers out there, here is some great news. When you ask, is chocolate good for you? The answer is yes…Sometimes.
So a chocolate bar a day keeps the doctor away?
Well, not quite…
Chocolate can very very healthy for you but it really depends on what kind.
Dark chocolate vs lighter chocolates
When it comes to the notion of healthy chocolate, the truth is mostly held in the darker stuff. This is because what’s healthy is not the chocolate its self, but the flavonoids found in the cocoa beans. Rather than asking: is chocolate good for you…You should be asking: What type of chocolate is good for you.
The problem with lighter chocolates, such as milk chocolate, is the number of flavonoids. Milk chocolate has these healthy flavonoids, but a pretty small amount. Milk chocolate also contains a lot of sugar, fats, and calories. In order to take in a significant amount of healthy flavonoids, you would need to eat A LOT of milk chocolate which would come with a lot of unhealthy sugar and calories. White chocolate is even worse as it contains the most sugar and actually no flavonoids at all. Dark chocolate, on the other hand, contains a high amount of flavonoids and less sugar than most types of chocolate. This means you can consume a beneficial amount of nutrients without having to consume an unhealthy amount of calories. So what can these “chocolate” flavonoids do for you?
It’s long been said that flavonoids, or the plant chemicals in cocoa beans, are good for your heart and blood pressure. Lately, science has been suggesting that these chemicals are also healthy for your brain, specifically your memory. Frontiers In Nutrition Journal posts a study stating that people over the age of 40 experienced cognitive improvements when they ate between 500 and 1,000 mg flavonoid-containing cocoa a day. Healthy flavonoid intake can also increase the heart’s ability to distribute blood to the brain. With so many great benefits, why not eat chocolate more often?
Not only does chocolate contain just any healthy flavonoids, but it also contains antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that prevent damage to cells due to diseases such as cancer. This right here is reason enough to indulge in chocolate containing high amounts of cocoa, but guess what… there’s more.
Eating highly cocoa containing chocolate can even reduce your risk of stroke. A Canadian study shows that people who eat dark chocolate often are twenty-two percent less likely suffer from a stroke. If you do suffer from stroke but consume high levels of cacao, you are forty-six percent less likely to have a fatal experience from the stroke. Not only is chocolate good for you, but it just may save your life.
Is chocolate good for you every single day?
Eating a moderate amount of dark chocolate daily is very good for you. Eating pure cocoa powder is very good for you as there is an even higher concentration of healthy flavonoids than dark chocolate and fewer calories. You wouldn’t want to eat pure cocoa by its self because it is very bitter, however, you can easily add it to other foods or beverages. Try adding some cocoa powder to milk or coffee for a flavorful hint of something special. For a desert on the healthier side, check out this recipe for cocoa powder no bake cookies. This recipe does call for a bit of sugar however you can easily substitute this for something more natural like maple syrup or organic honey.
Eating milk chocolate every day is not very healthy, however, it is perfectly alright every once in a while. White chocolate really has no benefits, but if it’s something you really enjoy it’s okay every once in a while as well.
By Lauren G.
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