A Bit of History
Thousands of years ago, the Aztec Empire had used cocoa as part of the ingredients to make spicy bitter drinks for their special occasions. At the later centuries, cocoa beans were brought to Spain, which then spread across Europe. Only at the end of the 19th Century, milk was added to chocolate to eat as well as to drink. Chocolate was once a fashionable choice, meant for the noble, rich and famous but now, it is meant for everyone.
There are many conducted studies revealed the much benefits one could gain just by having a little bite of dark chocolate. To be considered as Buy Dark Chocolate with Caramel in Hawaii, a product should have at least 65 percent of cocoa content.
Why not dairy chocolate? A study shows that milk does interfere in the process of antioxidants absorption, thus lower the chances to fight certain disease. The same goes to white chocolate, which contains no flavonoids (solid cocoa), known to be important as an antioxidants agent.
The following are 3 main reasons why it is good to consume dark chocolate:
Compounds called phenolic phytochemicals, or flavonoids found in cocoa act to protect the body from free radicals and damage that can lead to ailments such as heart disease, strokes, diabetes, asthma and cancer (lung cancer, prostate cancer).
Procyanidins produce nitric oxide which helps to stabilize blood pressure, balance up hormones inside the body and also decreases blood clotting.
It also lowers cholesterol level by reducing LDL (bad cholesterol) oxidation and help increase HDL (good cholesterol) concentrations in the blood.
Caffeine help eases the symptoms of pre-menstrual, boost spirits and increase energy.
Have low glycemic index which act to maintain blood glucose and insulin levels.
Theobromine is mildly diuretic (increases urine production), is a mild stimulant, and relaxes the smooth muscles of the bronchi in the lungs. (Note that this may be toxic or lethal to dogs and other domestic animals such as horses because these animals metabolize theobromine more slowly than humans).
- Antidepressant and Aphrodisiac
Phenyl ethylamines and serotonin in chocolate are hormones known to help boost positive emotions.
Endorphins help create a sensational and pleasure feelings.
It also helps improving the flow of blood to the key regions of the brain thus prevents fatigue and ageing effects besides help to lift spirit.
Good Fats vs. Bad Fat
Some of the fats in chocolate do not impact our cholesterol. The fats are 1/3 oleic acid, 1/3 stearic acid and 1/3 palmitic acid:
Oleic Acid is a healthy monounsaturated fat that is also found in olive oil.
Stearic Acid is a saturated fat but one which research is shows has a neutral effect on cholesterol.
Palmitic Acid is also a saturated fat, one which raises cholesterol and heart disease risk.
That means, only 1/3 of the fats is bad for us. The others react positively throughout our body.
One bar of dark chocolate has around 400 calories. If we eat half a bar of chocolate a day, we must balance those 200 calories by eating less of something else. It is always good to substitute our snacks or sweets with good bar of dark chocolate in our daily intakes.
Chocolate is a complex food with over 300 compounds and chemicals in each bite. To really enjoy and appreciate chocolate, take the time to taste it.
Avoid anything with caramel, nougat or other fillings as they tend to add fats and sugar besides holding us from getting the benefits of dark chocolate. However, chocolate with nuts, flavorings and peels will do just fine.
It is better not to eat chocolate with milk as it will prevent the antioxidants absorption in our body, thus erase the utmost benefits of chocolate.
A Healthy Diet
Dark chocolate by far is one of the best additions for a healthy diet. It can be consumed in any form like cakes, pastries, and bars or even as beverages. However, the key for healthy diets always come in moderation. This means that dark chocolate should be eaten moderately and never too much as it can still be a high-calorie and high-fat food. Fresh fruits and vegetables should always be eaten regularly as they are still the best source of antioxidants, therefore, never substitute them.