You don’t have to feel guilty the next time you indulge in chocolate. Chocolate has many health benefits, even if it can cause weight gain.
Theobroma cacao seeds are used to make chocolate. Its origins date back to Mesoamerica’s Olmec civilization.
The discovery of the Americas by Europe made chocolate very popular worldwide.
Because of its rich and sweet flavor, chocolate has become a top-rated food product.
What effect does chocolate have on our health? Below, the weight loss clinic in Houston will discuss the effects chocolate has on our health.
Quick facts about chocolate
These are the key points to remember about chocolate. The main article provides more information.
- Consuming chocolate has been linked to hypertension, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions for a long time.
- High levels of antioxidants are believed to be found in chocolate.
- A few studies suggest that chocolate may lower cholesterol and protect memory from decline.
- The calories in chocolate are high.
- If you are trying to lose or maintain weight, chocolate should be consumed in moderation.
Are there any health benefits to chocolate? Because of its high sugar and fat content, chocolate is often criticized. Consuming chocolate has been linked to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease.
But, the Netherlands Journal of Medicine has found some positive results from a review of chocolate’s effects on health.
The authors mention the discovery that cocoa (the key ingredient in chocolate) contains biologically active phytochemicals.
This has influenced people’s opinions about chocolate and stimulated research into the effects of chocolate on aging and conditions like oxidative stress, blood pressure regulation, and atherosclerosis.
The antioxidant properties of chocolate may offer a variety of health benefits. The more cocoa in dark chocolate, the better. Although dark chocolate may contain less fat or sugar, it is still essential to read the label.
These are some of the benefits that chocolate can bring:
- Lowering cholesterol
- preventing cognitive decline
- Reduce your risk of developing heart problems
Important to remember that these possible health benefits were only found in single studies. To confirm that chocolate can improve health, more research is required.
Additionally, chocolate bars don’t contain just cocoa. You should also consider the risks and benefits of other ingredients like sugar and fat.
One study published in The Journal of Nutrition suggests that chocolate intake might reduce low-density cholesterol (LDL) levels, also known as “bad cholesterol.”
Researchers determined if chocolate bars containing cocoa flavanols and plant sterols (PS) affect cholesterol.
According to the authors, “Regular intake of chocolate bars containing PS or CF as part of a low-fat diet may help support cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol levels and improving blood pressure.”
2) Cognitive function
Harvard Medical School scientists suggest that two cups of hot cocoa per day can help maintain brain health and decrease memory loss in the elderly.
Researchers found that hot chocolate increased blood flow to the brain’s most important areas.
Lead author, Farzaneh A. Sorond, said:
“Because different brain areas require more energy to accomplish their tasks, they also need more blood flow.” This is known as neurovascular coupling and may be necessary for diseases like Alzheimer’s em>
A 2014 lab experiment revealed that lavado (a cocoa extract) might decrease or prevent nerve damage in Alzheimer’s patients. This extract may help to slow cognitive decline symptoms.
A 2016 study published in Appetite found that chocolate consumption at least once a week could increase cognitive function.
3) Heart disease
According to BMJ research, chocolate consumption could lower your risk of developing heart disease by up to one-third.
According to their findings, higher chocolate consumption may be associated with a lower risk of developing cardiometabolic diseases.
These results require further experimental research to prove that chocolate consumption is beneficial.
Canadian scientists found that chocolate-eating people were 22 percent less likely than others to suffer a stroke in a study of 44,489 participants. People who suffered a stroke and ate chocolate regularly were 46 percent less likely than those who did not.
Another study was published in the journal heart in 2015. It examined the effects of diet on long-term health for 25,000 men/women.
According to the findings, consuming 100g (g) of chocolate daily could be associated with a lower risk for stroke and heart disease.
5) Growth and development of the fetus
According to a study presented at Atlanta’s 2016 Pregnancy Meeting, 30g of chocolate per day may benefit fetal growth.
6) Athletic performance
According to The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, a small amount of dark chocolate may increase oxygen availability during exercise training.
Light vs. dark chocolate
Milk chocolate manufacturers claim their product is healthier because it contains milk. This milk chocolate has both calcium and protein. Dark chocolate supporters highlight their product’s higher levels of iron and antioxidants.
What are the nutritional differences?
Below are some examples of nutrient levels for dark and light chocolate.
NutrientLight (100g)Dark (100g) Energie 531 kcal 556 kcal Protein 8.51 g 5.54 g Carbohydrate 58 g 60.49 g Fat 30.57 g 32.4 g Sugars 54 g 47.56 g Iron 0.91 mg 2.13 mg Phosphorus 206 mg 51 mg Potassium 438 mg 502 mg Sodium 101 mg 6 mg Calcium 251 mg 30 mg Cholesterol 24 mg 5 mg.
The darker the chocolate is, the more cocoa in the bars. This will also mean that the bar contains higher levels of antioxidants.
However, the nutritional content of commercially-available chocolate bars can vary depending on which brand you choose. To know the exact nutrients, it is best to read the label.