The next time you eat a piece of chocolate. Seek to discover chocolate benefits and risks. Despite its bad reputation for causing weight gain, a number of health benefits may be associated with this delicious treat.
The chocolate is made from the seeds of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree. Its first use dates back to the Olmec civilization in Mesoamerica.
After the European discovery of the Americas, chocolate became very popular around the world and its demand skyrocketed.
Chocolate has since become a popular food item that millions of people enjoy every day, thanks to its unique, rich and sweet taste.
But what effect does chocolate consumption have on our health?
Benefits of Chocolate: Fast Facts on Chocolate
Chocolate consumption has long been associated with conditions such as diabetes , coronary heart disease, and hypertension .
Chocolate is thought to contain high levels of antioxidants .
Some studies have suggested that chocolate may lower cholesterol levels and prevent memory decline .
Chocolate contains a large number of calories .
People looking to lose or maintain weight should only eat chocolate in moderation.
Benefits of Chocolate
Recent research suggests that chocolate may have some health benefits of chocolate.
Chocolate gets a lot of bad press due to its high fat and sugar content. Its consumption has been linked to acne , obesity , high blood pressure , coronary heart disease, and diabetes.
However, according to a Trusted Source review of the health effects of chocolate published in the Netherlands Journal of Medicine , it’s not all bad news.
The authors point to the finding that cocoa, the key ingredient in chocolate, contains biologically active phenolic compounds.
This changed people’s views of chocolate and spurred research into its impact on aging and on conditions such as oxidative stress , blood pressure regulation, and atherosclerosis .
The antioxidant potential of chocolate may have a range of health benefits. The higher the cocoa content, as in dark chocolate, the more there is. Dark chocolate may also be lower in fat and sugar, but it’s important to check the label.
Eating chocolate can have the following chocolate benefits: knowing the benefits of chocolate.
- lower cholesterol
- prevent cognitive decline
- reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems
It is important to note that the possible health benefits mentioned below come from single studies. More research is needed to confirm that eating chocolate can actually improve people’s health. Know the benefits of chocolate.
In addition, chocolate bars do not contain only cocoa. The benefits of chocolate and the risks of any other ingredients, such as sugar and fat, must be considered. Know the benefits of chocolate.
A study, published in The Journal of Nutrition , suggests that eating chocolate may help lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, also known as “bad cholesterol.” Know the benefits of chocolate.
Researchers sought to determine whether chocolate bars containing plant sterols (PS) and cocoa flavanols (CF) had any effect on cholesterol levels.
The authors concluded, “Regular consumption of candy bars containing PS and CF, as part of a low-fat diet, may promote cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol and improving blood pressure. Know the benefits of chocolate.
2) Cognitive function
Scientists at Harvard Medical School have suggested that drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day may help keep the brain healthy and reduce memory decline in older people.
Researchers found that hot chocolate helped improve blood flow to parts of the brain where it was needed. Know the benefits of chocolate.
“As different areas of the brain need more energy to perform their tasks, they also need more blood flow. This relationship, called neurovascular coupling, may play an important role in diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Results of a lab experiment, published in 2014, indicated that a cocoa extract, called lavado, may reduce or prevent damage to nerve pathways Trusted Source found in patients with Alzheimer’s disease . This extract may help slow symptoms such as cognitive decline.
Another study, published in 2016 in the journal Appetite , suggests eating chocolate at least once a week may improve Cognitive function. Know the benefits of chocolate.
3) Heart disease
Research published in The BMJ suggests that eating chocolate may help reduce the risk of developing heart disease by a third-party Trusted Source .
Based on their observations, the authors concluded that higher levels of chocolate consumption may be linked to a lower risk of cardiometabolic disorders.
They call for further experimental studies to confirm whether chocolate consumption is beneficial.
Canadian scientists, in a study of 44,489 people, found that people who ate a serving of chocolate were 22% less likely to have a stroke than those who didn’t. Additionally, those who consumed about two ounces of chocolate per week were 46% less likely to die of a stroke. Know the benefits of chocolate.
Another study, published in the journal Heart in 2015, tracked the impact of diet on the long-term health of 25,000 men and women.
The results suggest that eating up to 100 grams (g) of chocolate each day may be linked to a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
5) Growth and development of the fetus
Eating 30g (about an ounce) of chocolate each day during pregnancy may benefit fetal growth and development, according to research presented at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine’s 2016 Pregnancy Meeting in Atlanta , Georgia.
6) Athletic performance
Chocolate may help athletes travel more distance while using less oxygen
Findings published in The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggest that a little dark chocolate may increase the availability of Trusted Source oxygen during exercise training. Know the benefits of chocolate.
Researchers who studied cyclists doing time trials in the UK found that ” after eating dark chocolate, cyclists used less oxygen when cycling at a moderate pace and also cycled more distance during a two-minute flat-out time trial. »
Scientists believe that dark chocolate’s success in this case is that it contains flavonols called epicatechins, which enhance the release of nitric oxide in the body. Beet juice has a similar effect.
Light Chocolate vs. Dark Chocolate
Manufacturers of light, or milk, chocolate claim that their product is healthier because it contains milk, and milk provides protein and calcium . Dark chocolate proponents point to the higher iron content and antioxidant levels in their product.
How do the nutrients compare?
Here are some examples of nutrient levels in LightTrusted Source and DarkTrusted Source Chocolate,
|Nutrient||Lightweight (100g)||Black (100g)|
|Energy||531 calories||556 calories|
|Sugars||54 grams||47.56 grams|
The darker the chocolate, the higher the concentration of cocoa, and therefore, in theory, the higher the level of antioxidants will be in the bar. Know the benefits of chocolate.
However, nutrients vary widely in commercially available chocolate bars, depending on the brand and type you choose. It’s best to check the label if you want to be sure of the nutrients.
Unsweetened chocolates and 100% cocoa products are available for purchase online and in some grocery and health food stores. Know the benefits of chocolate.
Sugar-rich chocolate can lead to tooth decay if consumed in excess.
Chocolate can have health benefits, but it can also have negative effects.
Weight gain : Some studies suggest that chocolate consumption is linked to lower body mass index ( BMI ) and lower core body fat. However, chocolate can be high in calories due to its sugar and fat content. Anyone trying to lose weight or maintain weight should limit their chocolate intake and check the label of their favorite product.
Sugar Content : The high sugar content of most chocolates can also be a cause of tooth decay.
Migraine risk : Some people may experience an increase in migraines when they regularly eat chocolate due to the tyramine, histamine and phenylalanine content in cocoa. However, the research is mixed. Know the benefits of chocolate.
Bone health : There is evidence that chocolate can cause poor bone structure and osteoporosis . The results of a study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition , revealed that older women who ate chocolate daily had lower bone density and strength.
Heavy metals : Some cocoa powders, chocolate bars, and cocoa nibs may contain high levels of cadmium and lead, which are toxic to the kidneys, bones, and other body tissues.
In 2017, Consumer Lab tested 43 chocolate products and found almost all cocoa powders contained more than 0.3 mcg of cadmium per serving, the maximum amount recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). Know the benefits of chocolate.
Overall, eating chocolate can have both health benefits and risks. As always, moderation is key.