The Health Benefits of Chocolate
Wouldn’t the world be a brighter place if chocolate was considered a health food? Studies are beginning to show that chocolate is a hair’s breadth away from being considered “healthy.”
There are many ways in which chocolate can possibly benefit your health. When you are looking for a healthy chocolate to benefit your health, you need to be sure that you’re choosing the proper kind of chocolate. Milk chocolate has far less health benefits than dark chocolate does, especially dark chocolate with a high percentage of cacao. While dark chocolate does contain some saturated fat, it is a much less harmful kind of saturated fat than others, called stearic acid. Stearic acid doesn’t elevate blood cholesterol levels in the way that other saturated fats do. However, some chocolate will have additional sources of fat in them, such as milk fat, vegetable oil, or coconut oil.
Cocoa butter is the only fat source you want to see on the ingredient list of the chocolate you purchase for health purposes. The other sources of fat are harmful additives that are very likely to have a negative effect on your body. What is it in chocolate that benefits our bodies? There are several answers to this question, however the biggest one is flavanol, an antioxidant that can reduce cell damage, potentially inhibiting the development of heart disease. Chocolate also contains tryptophan, a chemical the brain needs in order to produce the “happy chemical” serotonin. Chocolate has also been shown to (when taken regularly) aid blood vessels and arteries in relaxing in order to let blood pass through, which is essential for cardiovascular health. In a recent study done in Italy, researchers found that the patients who regularly ate dark chocolate had a significantly lowered insulin resistance, which is a pre-diabetes condition. Many people struggle with chronic fatigue. A recent study shows that its possible that chocolate is the answer. In a study done of people suffering from chronic fatigue, those that had a regular intake of dark chocolate reported feeling more energized.
There is, of course, some caution to be taken. If you want the health benefits of chocolate, you have to ration the amount you get per day. Using chocolate in order to aid your overall health is not a “more is better” situation. If you overeat chocolate, you risk significant weight gain which is not conducive to a healthy body. Moderation is the key to using chocolate as a health food. Be choosy when it comes to what kind of chocolate you put into your body. Steer well clear of chocolate with additives like milk, vegetable oil and other cheap ingredients. Some brands of chocolate have even been known to use wax in their chocolate for a smoother texture.
Remember, when searching for the best chocolate for your health, be sure that its one with a high percentage of cacao and only cocoa butter as a fat source in the chocolate. Here’s to a delicious way to improve your health!