How to Choose Real Chocolate and Its Benefits
Chocolate is made from Theobroma cacao tree seeds. After the European discovery of the Americas, chocolate became really popular in the world, and its demand exploded.
Chocolate has become a popular food product that millions enjoy every day, because of its unique, rich, and sweet taste. It’s the ultimate comfort food, which helps us fight stress and find a reliable source of consolation when life has let us down.
Also, there are a lot of medically proven ways in which chocolate (good chocolate!) with a cocoa percentage of around 70 percent or more is really good for our health.
But how exactly does eating chocolate effect on our health?
It's good for the heart and blood circulation.
Dark chocolate helps restore flexibility to arteries by preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels, which may cause an artery-clog.
It's full of minerals.
Dark chocolate is packed with useful minerals such as potassium, zinc, and selenium. A 100g bar of dark choc provides 70 percent of the RDA (The Recommended Dietary Allowance) of iron.
Chocolate reduces cholesterol.
Consumption of cocoa leads to reduced levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and increased levels of “good” cholesterol, lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.
It's good for your skin.
Dark chocolate is a friendly ingredient that helps to keep your skin healthy, glowing and looking flawless. It’s full of antioxidants and has great sun protection properties which protect your skin from free radical damage. It also helps in preventing sunburns and skin cancer.
It can help you lose weight.
Chocolate can help you lose weight by improving your metabolism. Dark chocolate has a fabulous impact on how the body converts fatty acids, thus reducing the digestion and absorption of fats and carbohydrates. The person eating chocolate experiences a feeling of fullness which is helpful in losing weight.
Chocolate is good for your teeth.
Tooth cavities form when the bacterium Streptococcus produce a molecule called glucan. Glucan helps bacteria anchor themselves to teeth and form layers of plaque. An active ingredient in the cocoa bean husk kills mouth bacteria and protects our oral cavity from tooth decay and teeth pain.
Chocolate is good for the brain.
Flavanols cause memory loss in older people, and the anti-inflammatory qualities of dark chocolate have been found beneficial in treating brain injuries such as concussions. Chocolate also contains caffeine, a well-known brain booster that in low doses improves memory and concentration.
Eating dark chocolate can make you happy.
Dark chocolate boosts the production of chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins connect with opiate receptors in the brain leading to feelings of euphoria. They also decrease pain and lessen the negative effect of stress.
How to Choose the Healthiest Chocolate
It’s important to understand that not all chocolate is health-friendly as others. It should not be a surprise for you that dark chocolate is considered the most beneficial for our health. But not all dark chocolate is created equal.
There are some ways for you to choose good, quality chocolate:
If you are looking for nutritious chocolate:
- You should see "75 percent percent dark chocolate," "65 percent cacao," or something like this. The percentage refers to the total amount of chocolate (antioxidant ingredients) in the bar.
- The higher percentage means that the bar contains less sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. It also means the chocolate will have a more bitter and intense flavor.
Try unsweetened cocoa powder.
- Cocoa powder is made from cocoa beans that's why it doesn't contain the cocoa butter or any added sugar.
- It typically contains about 95 percent chocolate which makes it an excellent source of antioxidants.
Skip the white chocolate.
- White chocolate is not chocolate at all, but only cocoa butter mixed with sugar, milk solids, and flavoring.
- It’s high in calories, sugars, and sometimes without any nutritional benefits of dark chocolate.
Skip chocolates containing additives.
- True chocolate should contain cocoa butter as one of the ingredients.
- Read over the ingredient list and look for other types of fats like hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils to avoid it.
Regardless of all the benefits and pluses, eating chocolate in large quantities may lead to weight gain. You should have a measure to receive from chocolate only the best.