Top 4 Reasons Chocolates Are Good For Your Health
Photo courtesy of Fongetz.
Whether chocolates are good for you depends on the type of chocolate & the amount you eat.
What are the top 4 reasons to eat chocolate?
- Chocolates contain flavonoids such as polyphenols & flavanols. Flavanols are present in healthy foods such as apples, cherries, black tea. Flavanols are also found in dark chocolate and dark chocolate actually contains a higher concentration of flavanols than those healthy foods. What do flavonoids do? They are antioxidants which protect many of your body's tissues from damage by oxygen free radicals, protect bad LDL cholesterol from oxidation.
- Chocolate contains oleic acid (the same good oil that is present in olive oil) and steric acid (a saturated fat which our body can metabolize to oleic acid). Research has shown that eating chocolate does not, on the whole, raise blood cholesterol level, even though it contains fat. So, all else being equal, your cholesterol level is maintained despite eating chocolates.
- Dark chocolate has been shown to improve the function of the endothelium (ie the thin inner layer of your arteries), by inducing it to produce nitric oxide. Nitric acid in turn widens blood vessels & keep their lining smooth & healthy. It stands to reason that, if there is good endothelial function, your blood vessels are open more widely and your blood pressure is maintained reasonably low level.
- Researchers in Switzerland & the US have found that dark chocolate reduces platelet activation. Fewer platelets mean fewer blood clots. It is these blood clots which form on cholesterol plaques in critical arteries and lead to heart attacks & many strokes. Fewer blood clots could mean that your chances of a heart attack and /or stroke are decreased.
Research shows that chocolate may indeed have a role in promoting health. However, it is the dark chocolate that contains substances that are beneficial to health. It is not milk chocolate, white chocolate and other varieties. Another consideration to keep in mind is that chocolates contain calories. Therefore, as with everything else, eating chocolates in moderation is suggested
What does all this mean for you?
If you are a chocolate lover, choose dark chocolate. Also, for maximal health benefit, the first listed ingredient (and therefore the ingredient with the highest concentration) on the packet should be 'cocoa' or 'chocolate liquor', not sugar.