Does chocolate have health benefits at all? Few studies and researches made not too long ago suggested it has. In fact, a lot of chemicals containing chocolate were found to be beneficial to the people's health. So, it does contradict the old myth and half-truths surrounding the saying that anything that looks and tastes good is bad.
The health benefits are particularly true to cocoa, dark chocolate, and minimally-processed chocolate foods. Aside from the copper and magnesium, which aids in regulating blood pressure and heartbeat, they contain flavonoids, the ones that you also found in high-antioxidant green tea. As you probably know it already, antioxidants are good for the health as they accomplish a number of health benefits, such as the following:
- Improve circulation
- Lower blood pressure
- Stimulate kidneys, improve digestion
- Can help patients with poor appetite, kidney stones, and anemia
- Improve endothelial functions
- Guard against free radicals and other destructive molecules, which are known to trigger stroke and heart disease.
- Lower heart disease-related deaths
Flavonoids have two different kinds, the epicatechins and catechin. The catechin has been found to be rich in minimally processed chocolate foods and cocoa. This is known to aid in preventing heart disease illnesses and possibly cancer problems. It is also aid to boosting an individual's immune system, this one also was recently discovered by the experts. Catechins can be found triple in amount in chocolates as compared to those found in teas.
But despite the discovered health benefits of chocolate, you have to be cautious at what type and amount of chocolate food you consume. As anything excessive can be bad to health, and that applies to chocolate too. Eating high quantities of chocolate can still cause weight and eventually trigger illness especially if you consume the less healthy type of chocolate.
In order to avoid the unpleasant consequences, you have to choose the right type of chocolate when consuming as not all kinds are good. For example, highly-processed chocolate food kind such as those in candy and bar forms have high calories, sugar, and fat contents, therefore, must be avoided at all cost. Healthy kinds are dark chocolate, cocoa, and any other minimally-processed chocolate food.
This is in relation to studies demonstrating possible effects by eating chocolates done by the experts to groups of participants. In a particular study, half of the group ate dark chocolate while the other white chocolate. One ones who ate white chocolate, showed no change in blood pressure, while the other who ate dark chocolate, significantly lowered their systolic blood pressure.
At another conducted Pennsylvania State University study,a different group of participants received low fat diet, except that the half got high-carb snack and the other consumed low fat chocolate bar for a certain length of time. The two split groups didn't show difference in levels of bad or LDL cholesterol afterwards. However, those that ate chocolate bars did show increase in triglycerides, a type of heart-risk blood fat, and good or HDL cholesterols.
From these studies, it showed how chocolate can actually be a good diet food. However, note that the participants were only fed in minimal quantities of chocolates, therefore it is still not advised to consume this sweet treat more than what is required for you to take. Also, remember to avoid chocolate foods that are high in artificial flavorings, with dairy products, and sugars. Remember this: the less that it is processed, the more that health benefits you will get from chocolate.