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Monday, February 27, 2012

Eat Chocolate & Improve Your Health!

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Eating a piece of chocolate is definitely a moment to savor. Whether its dark, milk, or white, chocolate comes in many varieties and flavors and it’s tempting to choose. The good news is that chocolate has many health benefits and for chocoholics they can eat chocolate regularly without feeling guilty. So grab a piece of chocolate and read on to find out the health benefits of chocolate.

Chocolate is made from cocoa beans found in the pods that grow on cocoa tree. The beans are fermented, dried, and roasted to produce the flavor of cocoa. Then the pre – processed cocoa is then further processed into many forms such as bars and powders with as many imaginable flavors you can think of.

The major health benefit is chocolate contains antioxidants. For every type of chocolate, it’s high in antioxidant phenolics especially catechins and flavonoids. These antioxidants are important in protecting our body by neutralizing freeradicals. Flavonoids are also needed to neutralize certain hormones in our body and are beneficial to your heart. Below is the amount of flavonoid in three main flavors of chocolate: 

Type of chocolate
Phenolics (mg/100g)
Flavonoids (mg/100g)
Dark chocolate
578.64 mg
28.30 mg
Milk chocolate
160.46 mg
13.48 mg
White chocolate
126.39 mg
7.70 mg
The only problem is flavonoids tend to make chocolates taste a bit bitter. Thus; chocolate manufacturers tend to remove it and add milk solids and sugar as well as other fillings to give the raw chocolate a sweeter taste. For this reason, dark chocolate is a better option because it is less processed and has less fillings added to it. 
Dark chocolate is also a healthier option due to it flavonoid content is eight times higher than what it is in strawberries and it’s low in calories too. Here are other health benefits of dark chocolate, similar to other varieties;
  • Beneficial for your heart by lowering your low – density lipid (LDL), the “bad” cholesterol by ten percent
  • Can significantly lower your blood pressure
  • Stimulating endorphin production (the feel – good hormone)
  • Containing serotonin that acts as an anti – depressant
  • Contains two alkaloid stimulants: theobromine and caffeine in ratio 10:1 
But the commercially – produced chocolates have lower of these stimulants compared to a cup of decaffeinated coffee. 


Other health benefits is that chocolate doesn't really make you fat (unless you eat the high fat content varieties). Some of the fats in chocolate aren’t affecting your cholesterol level (in fact, the dark varieties can reduce your bad cholesterol).  

Chocolate contains the following types of fat;
  •       1/3 oleic acid; a healthy monounsaturated fat which is good for your health
  •       1/3 stearic acid; a saturated fat but not affecting your cholesterol level
  •     1/3 palmitic acid; a saturated fat that increases your cholesterol level and risk heart disease

The verdict? It’s best to make dark chocolate as your primary choice when it comes to having a chocolate so you can savor it with extra flavonoids and without the extra fat. Bite a piece of chocolate without feeling guilty and reap the health benefits of chocolate.              

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