Is Chocolate Good for Us?
I will not stop eating or drooling over chocolates even if somebody tells me that it will kill me! I will still love and crave it. Is there a disease for where chocolate is the treatment? Guess I wouldn’t mind having that! I just can’t compare the happiness that I get from savoring a piece of chocolate to anything else. I, me, myself, and my chocolate – heaven!
But for your information – Are chocolates good for our health?
Chocolate is obtained from cacao, a plant rich in phytochemicals like flavanoids. Here comes the first benefit – flavanoids have good antioxidant properties, which is beneficial to our health. The amount of flavanoids present in chocolates varies considerably. Go for chocolates with natural cocoa powder and use the same for baking cakes and also for hot chocolate drinks.
Cacao does contain fats, most of which are beneficial like monosaturated fatty acids, stearic acid, and palmittic acid. Although stearic acid is a saturated fat, it does not affect the cholesterol levels in blood. But many chocolates may contain additional fats like milk fat and hydrogenated vegetable oil which add to the fat content that you better not prefer. So choose wisely, look out for chocolates that contain more of non-fat cocoa solids in them.
Mind it – All chocolates do have calories! Adding calories is by no way beneficial, and you are only going to eclipse the other benefits of chocolate by eating more. So you can eat chocolate, just don't over do it! Other than the fats, sugar, and calories that it adds, chocolates may also contain caffeine and theobromine, two components that cannot be called beneficial. Both these are stimulants, so moderation is ideal for health.
Studies have shown that dark chocolate and cocoa provide some health benefits like:
- Reducing the risk of heart attack – This is achieved by reducing blood pressure, decreasing the oxidation levels of LDL cholesterol, and by the anti-inflammatory properties of phytochemicals.
- Increase the sensitivity of body to hormone insulin – Dark chocolate was found to increase insulin sensitivity in some of the studies. Further, those who had dark chocolates were found to have lower systolic blood pressure.
- Improve blood flow in the vessels – Blood vessels relax and improve blood flow in the arteries in those who had dark chocolate thus increasing the health of the heart.
- Reduce the effects of chronic fatigue syndrome – Phytochemicals in chocolate improved the action of serotonin reducing fatigue in those who had the syndrome.