Chocolate has now become the world’s most famous sweet treat, and because of its matchless and rich flavor, heaps of people enjoy it every day. Chocolate is made from the cocoa seeds of Theobroma trees situated near the Amazon River and in Mexico. Millions of tons of cocoa products especially chocolates, are consumed annually all over the world, but specifically in Europe and the United States, according to the World Cocoa Foundation. The explanation for its high consumption rate is not only the taste but also its magnetic quality to be good for the brain and heart.
Now if you want to satisfy yourself by consuming a slice of chocolate, do not hesitate because a study has published that chocolates are not bad at all because their main ingredient is cocoa containing naturally active phenolic compounds, according to an author of the Netherlands Journal of Medicine. In addition, stearic acid, which is chocolate’s fat content, can also boost HDL levels.
Just like many other foods, chocolate is not all good or all bad, but let’s talk about the benefits of chocolate for once.
Benefits of chocolate
Chocolate, when taken in moderation, is incredibly healthy food for all. Because of its high antioxidant content, it is entirely an all-rounder to fight against the illness that can lower blood pressure and save the person from a stroke. Did you know that 67% of your RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) of iron and 10% of the fiber is met with a 100-gram high cocoa content chocolate bar? It consists of zinc, selenium, and potassium as well.
It may help with blood circulation and prevent blood clotting as studies now show that chocolate has a similar effect to aspirin to improve blood flow and lower blood pressure. The findings of a study found those individuals who consumed more chocolates had 37% fewer chances of getting a heart attack and reduced the chances of stroke by 29%.
Besides heart functionality, for cognitive function, chocolate is beneficial. It’s a powerful source of antioxidants that can improve brain function. Professor David Kennyed, director of Brain performance at Northumbria University (UK) has concluded in his research that daily taking of cocoa drink is highly benefited the contestants for resolving difficult calculations.
Chocolate can also minimize tiredness and make you more vigilant. Research has shown that when specifically formulated cocoa extracts that were high in flavanols were given, cognitive function improved in elderly people.
Chocolate impacts the mood positively. Dark chocolate awakens the development of chemical endorphins in the brain that produces good feelings. With its energetic content of caffeine that lightens the mood, chocolate makes you feel better. Dark Chocolate decreases the cravings for food and lowers the ghrelin level (the hormone that causes hunger) and induces feelings of fullness. Many studies have shown that metabolism is boosted by dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is filled with monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and to burn fat and calories, these good fats will speed up your metabolism.
Before you go and get a Hershey’s chocolate bar you need to know that not all chocolate is created equal, the key here is quality, all the benefits mentioned above can be found when using raw unprocessed cocoa, mixed with healthy ingredients to make it palatable. Highly processed, sugar-filled chocolate has lost most of its nutritional value, giving you just empty calories.
But wait for a second, does that mean you should go grab all the chocolate bars off the grocery store shelves?
Well, not all chocolate is created equal, studies that brag about chocolate’s amazing health benefits are not referring to your average store-bought chocolate bar, they are talking about raw cacao!
Raw cacao powder VS Processed Cocoa powder:
Both come from Theobroma cocoa tree beans, but the distinction between raw and processed cocoa depends on how the cacao beans are processed after harvesting.
Raw cacao powder is made from cold-pressing un-roasted cocoa beans that are milled at low temperatures to preserve the nutrients and antioxidants. Cacao nibs are also another powerhouse of nutrition, the dried and fermented pieces of cacao beans used as toppings on baked goods or smoothie bowls.
Raw Cocoa is high in flavanols that improve cognitive functions, it’s also a very good source of magnesium and antioxidants.
Processed Cocoa powder on the other hand is made from roasted cocoa beans that are milled at high temperatures, giving it a less bitter taste, more rich flavor but fewer nutrients, and antioxidants.
Processed cocoa is washed in Alkazling solution to become rich in flavor, turn its color from light to dark, and quickly melt in liquids but most sustenances is lost in this processing. Cocoa powder is also an example of processed cocoa that’s been roasted at high temperatures and high heat decreases all its nutritional value and benefits.
So when you can opt for using raw cocoa powder in your baking products to get all the promised benefits of chocolate.
The problem is in the sugar, not the chocolate
Chocolate has gotten a lot of bad reputation and was blamed for weight gain and diabetes, but chocolate is not to blame! it’s the sugar. If you learn to make healthy chocolate products using natural sweeteners or buy clean chocolate products, then you can enjoy it without guilt or harm.
You can reduce health problems related to consuming too much sugar by selecting dark chocolate and unsweetened cacao products, as sugar intake can easily cause your insulin level to rise and can also be the reason for weight gain.
The problem is primarily with sugar, not chocolate.
By using healthy natural sugar substitutes, such as stevia, honey, monk fruit, and maple syrup, you can make healthier chocolates. These natural sugars are less harmful than normal sugar and have added health benefits. confused about which type of sweetener to use? check out my blog about the best natural sugar substitutes here.
Check out my recipe book “20 HEALTHY CHOCOLATE RECIPES FOR YOU” with 20 healthy and easy chocolate recipes that will satisfy any craving. you can also check out my recommended sugar-free chocolates on my amazon store for some ready-made options.
When we analyze the health effects of chocolate, like every other energy-rich product, it has both positive and negative effects. Unrestrained intake of a large amount of such food raises the risk of weight gain and other health issues, yet consuming it in moderation with the right types of sugars used can be un-harmful and even beneficial to your health.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_wp_posts number=”5″][/vc_column][/vc_row]