Chocolate has been the go-to comfort food after a bad break-up. It’s been the guilty pleasure after a hard work week. But how much do we know about chocolate? Take a look at some of the health benefits of chocolate, as well as a few things to watch out for.
Health Facts About Chocolate
According to Medical News Today, the average American eats about 4.5 kg of chocolate every year. That’s nearly 10 pounds! Most of the time, we don’t think about what we’re eating, but it’s important to identify the implications of the things you eat. Take a look below at the break-down of the health benefits of chocolate and the risks associated.
The base ingredient for chocolate is the cocoa bean. These beans not only provide the unique flavor chocolate has, but they also contain many antioxidants such as flavanols. Because of the benefits flavanols provide, such as improved blood circulation, the cocoa bean has been called a “superfruit.” Some studies suggest that chocolate (cocoa) may be beneficial for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as lowering the risk of heart disease or stroke. Because blood circulation can be improved, it may also prevent memory decline.
While there are beneficial properties in chocolate, there are also disadvantages to eating chocolate. To put it simply, chocolate is a high source of calories, sugar, and saturated fats – all of which can put your health at risk. In the past, consumption of chocolate and cocoa has been associated with coronary heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. Because of this, it’s important to limit the amount of chocolate you eat.
Which Chocolate Is the Healthiest?
It should be noted that a healthy diet consists of both vegetables and protein. Chocolate, while it has some benefits, cannot be relied upon to provide the nutrients you need. It’s an acceptable dessert choice in moderation. Let’s take a look at the health benefits of chocolate; white, milk, and dark.
While it may be sweet, white chocolate is by far the worst kind for you. White chocolate doesn’t actually contain any cocoa, just a lot of added sugar. It’s high in saturated fat as well. The best you can hope to get out of a bar of white chocolate is calcium.
Milk chocolate is a step up from white chocolate. Usually, milk chocolate contains a medium amount of cocoa – around 40%. The higher the percentage of cocoa, the better the chocolate will be for you. Another great way to boost the health benefits of chocolate is to pick milk chocolate that contains protein of some kind, such as nuts.
Dark chocolate is commonly known for it’s rich and bitter taste. That taste comes from a high cocoa content – around 70%. Although dark chocolate isn’t everyone’s favorite, it provides the most health benefits out of most sweet candies. It has fewer carbs than other chocolates, and it contains healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. Our motto is: the darker (more cocoa), the better!
Is Chocolate Good For Your Teeth?
Yes. Here’s Why:
Only dark chocolate is good for your teeth. Along with antioxidants, dark chocolate contains tannins and polyphenols. Tannins (plant compounds) stop harmful bacteria from sticking to your teeth. They are the reason dark chocolate tastes bitter. Polyphenols are natural chemicals that help kill oral bacteria and neutralize microorganisms that cause bad breath.
Next time you reach for that snickers bar, take a minute to rethink and grab a dark chocolate bar instead!
What healthy chocolate bars do you like to eat? Tell us in the comments section, below!