The Truth About Chocolate and Health Benefits
* This is a guest post by Kitty Holman
Recently, chocolate has been getting mixed reviews from physicians, scientists, and mothers across the country. For years, people blamed the sugary confection for their expanding waist lines, acne problems, and caffeine jitters. But more research is being presented that claims not all chocolate is this sinister, and that some might actually be good for your health.
Dark chocolate is the kind of chocolate physicians are promoting these days as being “healthy.” For chocolate to be considered dark, the candy must have at least 70 percent cocoa content, which is what gives it positive nutritional value. Cocoa naturally contains flavinoids, also called Vitamin P, which are organic compounds found naturally in some foods, like red wine, blueberries, and green teas. These flavinoids have many health benefits associated with them, like triggering disease fighting enzymes in the body and fighting tooth decay. Flavinoids also lower blood pressure and combat heart disease, lower “bad cholesterol”, and reduce blood clots.
Dark chocolate has even been known as a relaxing agent, thanks in part to the reduction of cortisol and catecholamines, the stress hormones, in the body. Because of these great health benefits, some physicians are recommending patients with high blood pressure and high cholesterol to start eating a certain amount of dark chocolate each day, rather than taking medication. Dark chocolate is potent, however, and only one and a half ounces a day will deliver the recommended amounts of flavinoids.
While dark chocolates provide these great health benefits, the same does not apply to milk chocolate or chocolates filled with caramel, nougat, or any of the other 800 known added ingredients. Milk interferes with the absorption of these beneficial flavinoids into the human body. Even a glass of milk on the side will negate the process. It’s also best to steer clear of these kinds of chocolates if you’re watching your weight. The sugars that are added to reduce the bitterness of natural cocoa are loaded with calories, and there will be little good nutritional value derived from these kinds of chocolate pieces.
It’s also important to note that while dark chocolate could improve your overall health, too much of a good thing is not so good. Dark chocolate still contains sugars, calories, and saturated fats. Carefully monitoring how much your eat, while simultaneously cutting out another sweet from your diet or taking an extra walk around the block, will help balance the benefits and potential disadvantages of dark chocolate.
This guest post is contributed by Kitty Holman, who writes on the topics of nursing schools. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: kitty.holman20 (at) gmail.com.