Health Benefits of Chocolate
“If it tastes good, spit it out!” That’s the mentality that most of us have regarding tasty food. Wouldn’t it be a cruel joke if the best tasting food was bad for you? Fortunately, that’s not always the case! Let’s talk about the health benefits of chocolate; you’ll be surprised.
Is chocolate good for you?
Yes! Chocolate has many health benefits, many more than most people think. By “chocolate” I mean chocolate as pure as possible, dark chocolate. Milky Way bars, unfortunately, are not that good for you, sorry… tasty food is not necessarily bad for your health, but such food has to meet one requirement: it has to be natural. The more processed a food item is, in general, the worse it is for you. You can find sweet stuff that is not bad for you: fruits are sweet but they are not unhealthy. Soda, on the other hand… not so much. Again, this is because fruits are natural, but soda is not.
The same principle applies to chocolate. Natural, dark chocolate is GREAT for your health. Processed chocolate, chocolate that is mixed with a bunch of other things, not so much. How do you find chocolate that is good for you? Look for chocolate bars with high cocoa content. If a bar has a lot of cocoa, then there’s less room for other substances that you don’t want to consume, such as sugar, vanilla, lecithin, milk, cocoa butter… these are the things that transform your chocolate bar into a candy. You don’t want a candy, you want a vegetable! That’s what chocolate really is. The health benefits of chocolate are waiting for you!
Let’s look at some of the amazing chocolate health benefits
Chocolate is primarily known for being a great antioxidant. Antioxidants keep free radicals away from your body. Free radicals cause a lot of problems in your body, such as diseases and aging.
Green tea, red wine, blueberries and pomegranate are all known for being great antioxidants. What most people don’t know is that dark chocolate is a much better antioxidant than them. According to the USDA, chocolate has 13,120 ORACs (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity Units) for every 100 grams, while blueberries, for example, have 2,400. The difference is huge.
A diet rich in antioxidants has been linked to a lower risk of suffering from cancer, stroke, high blood pressure, heart attacks, cholesterol problems, asthma, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease and more. Dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants, so it’s easy to see why it may be very good for your health.
Some people say that chocolate has a lot of sugar, fat and caffeine, and that this is what makes chocolate unhealthy. Well, it is true that those things are not necessarily good for you; but again, chocolate bars with high cocoa content don’t have those things. Those are the bars will give you all the health benefits of chocolate.
But… What about the sugar and the caffeine?
Yes, it is true that chocolate bars contain sugar. It’s also true that it is better to avoid an excess of sugar in your diet if you can help it. With that said, consider this: a glass of orange juice has 22 grams of sugar, and a cup of yogurt, 29. What about a chocolate bar? It only has 10 to 15 grams of sugar! Food items such as a cup of yogurt and a glass of orange juice are considered good for your health, but a chocolate bar is not.
Also, remember that It is always a good idea to read the labels. It is better to choose the chocolate bars that don’t use refined white sugar. Evaporate cane juice is a pretty good alternative, for example.
Chocolate has caffeine, too. The amount of caffeine contained in an average bar is about 27 mg. A cup of coffee has three times more caffeine than a chocolate bar, and a cola has twice as much caffeine. Again, as you can see, it is not nearly as bad as most people think. On top of that, having some, but not more than 200 mg of caffeine a day may be good for your health, as some studies point out.
Having a bit of dark chocolate may very well be the ideal dessert, giving you the health benefits of chocolate while leaving you satisfied and happy about what your just ate. So hold the guilt, and have some dark chocolate.