There are many people who really think that chocolate is sinful, but actually there are many benefits of eating chocolate for human beings.

The real fact is this that chocolates have been used since decades by the medical professionals in order to cure the problems such as shortness of breath, low virility, hemorrhoids, weak digestion system, diarrhea, fatigue, gout, and tuberculosis.

According to the current nutritional researches, it has been identified that there are numerous health benefits of eating chocolates. There are probably some basic benefits and advantages of eating chocolates on a regular basis.

Chocolate is a favorite among people all over the world. Dark chocolate has been proven through studies that it is healthier for people than milk chocolate and white chocolate, which offer higher fat content and less health benefits to the consumer. This type of chocolate is also known as semi-sweet chocolate or bittersweet chocolate and has many benefits. One of the benefits of chocolate is that it is a good mood enhancer. Many people consume it when they are having a bad day. It contains serotonin which acts like an anti-depressant. It not only relaxes us, but also serves to make blood vessels more flexible to help the flow of blood throughout our bodies.

The most outstanding dark chocolate health benefit is that it has a nutrient that has been shown to curb cancer. The antioxidants found in the cacao are an important ingredient which helps fight the free radicals that lead to illnesses and heart disease in the body. Flavonoids fight the free radicals which can come from foods ingested and even the environment. The flavonoids that help protect the immune system are called Catechins and Epicatechins. The higher the cacao content the better it is for you. Another benefit is that in one ounce can give you a full daily supply of magnesium and iron.

Other health benefits from the antioxidants include less joint pain from the stiffness of arthritis, it is great to increase energy by the B vitamins you will get from it, too. Antioxidants found in dark chocolate have been known to help you sleep better and feel well-rested the next day. Yet another benefit is that it has been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

Eating dark chocolate is a benefit to diabetics who are limited on how much sugar they can take in. It contains the good cholesterol and fats which do not interfere with insulin production. It also is a low carbohydrate food, which is another plus for diabetics.

There are many health related reasons to eat this type of chocolate. Not only can it help your body be healthier and affect your mental state of mind, but it tastes great. If you are going to purchase and indulge in chocolate, dark chocolate is the best choice for most people because of all of the benefits it offers.

A Bit of History

Thousands of years ago, the Aztec Empire had used cocoa as part of the ingredients to make spicy bitter drinks for their special occasions. At the later centuries, cocoa beans were brought to Spain, which then spread across Europe. Only at the end of the 19th Century, milk was added to chocolate to eat as well as to drink. Chocolate was once a fashionable choice, meant for the noble, rich and famous but now, it is meant for everyone.

Health Benefits

There are several conducted studies revealed the abundant benefits one might gain simply by having a little bite of semi-sweet chocolate. To be considered as dark chocolate, a product ought to have at least sixty five % of cocoa content.

Why not dairy chocolate? A study shows that milk will interfere within the process of antioxidants absorption, so lower the chances to fight certain illness. the same goes to chocolate, that contains no flavonoids (solid cocoa), well-known to be vital as an antioxidants agent.The following are 3 main reasons why it is good to consume dark chocolate:

  1. Antioxidants
  • Compounds called phenolic phytochemicals, or flavonoids found in cocoa act to protect the body from free radicals and damage that can lead to ailments such as heart disease, strokes, diabetes, asthma and cancer (lung cancer, prostate cancer).
  • Procyanidins produce nitric oxide which helps to stabilize blood pressure, balance up hormones inside the body and also decreases blood clotting.
  • It also lowers cholesterol level by reducing LDL (bad cholesterol) oxidation and help increase HDL (good cholesterol) concentrations in the blood.
  1. Stimulants
  • Caffeine help eases the symptoms of pre-menstrual, boost spirits and increase energy.
  • Have low glycemic index which act to maintain blood glucose and insulin levels.
  • Theobromine is mildly diuretic (increases urine production), is a mild stimulant, and relaxes the smooth muscles of the bronchi in the lungs. (Note that this may be toxic or lethal to dogs and other domestic animals such as horses because these animals metabolize theobromine more slowly than humans).
  1. Antidepressant and Aphrodisiac
  • Phenyl ethylamines and serotonin in chocolate are hormones known to help boost positive emotions.
  • Endorphins help create a sensational and pleasure feelings.
  • It also helps improving the flow of blood to the key regions of the brain thus prevents fatigue and ageing effects besides help to lift spirit.

Good Fats vs. Bad Fat

Some of the fats in chocolate do not impact our cholesterol. The fats are 1/3 oleic acid, 1/3 stearic acid and 1/3 palmitic acid:

  • Oleic Acid is a healthy monounsaturated fat that is also found in olive oil.
  • Stearic Acid is a saturated fat but one which research is shows has a neutral effect on cholesterol.
  • Palmitic Acid is also a saturated fat, one which raises cholesterol and heart disease risk.

That means, only 1/3 of the fats is bad for us. The others react positively throughout our body.

Useful Tips

  • One bar of dark chocolate has around 400 calories. If we eat half a bar of chocolate a day, we must balance those 200 calories by eating less of something else. It is always good to substitute our snacks or sweets with good bar of dark chocolate in our daily intakes.
  • Chocolate is a complex food with over 300 compounds and chemicals in each bite. To really enjoy and appreciate chocolate, take the time to taste it.
  • Avoid anything with caramel, nougat or other fillings as they tend to add fats and sugar besides holding us from getting the benefits of dark chocolate. However, chocolate with nuts, flavorings and peels will do just fine.
  • It is better not to eat chocolate with milk as it will prevent the antioxidants absorption in our body, thus erase the utmost benefits of chocolate.

A Healthy Diet

Dark chocolate by far is one of the best additions for a healthy diet. It can be consumed in any form like cakes, pastries, and bars or even as beverages. However, the key for healthy diets always come in moderation. This means that dark chocolate should be eaten moderately and never too much as it can still be a high-calorie and high-fat food. Fresh fruits and vegetables should always be eaten regularly as they are still the best source of antioxidants, therefore, never substitute them.

Posted by: MJC

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