Life is a box full of chocolates, so goes the popular movie line. It is rare to meet someone who is averse to eating chocolates. At the very least, every single person must have had the experience of tasting this delectable sweet; otherwise, he surely missed a lot in his life.
However, chocolates have been getting the bad rap for many years because of its association to weight gain and obesity. In some cases, chocolates are being blamed for the alarmingly increasing number of diabetics. The rich fat content of chocolates, gram per gram, is almost synonymous to the average weight gain of diabetic and obese individuals. So-called fitness gurus likewise, labeled the chocolate as an absolute no-no for serious weight loss regimens.
However, scientific experts also recognize that certain chocolates are actually beneficial because they contain certain substances that offer a variety of protective functions on the body’s vital organs such as the heart. This leads to the debate – is chocolate good or bad for you?
What is in Chocolates?
Chocolates are derived from the seeds of the Theobroma cacao, better known as the cacao tree or cocoa tree. The main ingredient is the cocoa that is packed with flavonols – a special type of flavonoid – that have been established to have a protective function on the cardiovascular system by decreasing the coagulability of blood to prevent unnecessary clot formation. Flavonols are also known to be effective in lowering systemic blood pressure as well as improving the flow of blood to the heart muscle and the brain.
It is these flavonols found in cocoa beans that make chocolates a healthy alternative to cardiovascular medications. Upon learning that chocolates are good for your health, it is time to find a quality store that offers quality chocolate products which are made for wellness. These are what you can find when you visit our site at essentialhealthfoods.com.au.
What makes Chocolates Bad?
Since cocoa beans need to be processed into the different varieties of chocolates, the number of processes the beans has to undergo critically decreases the amount of flavonols. Add to this the other ingredients used to sweeten and tame the bitter taste of the cocoa beans and the result is lesser amounts of flavonols and more of the calorie-rich sugars, milk, and other fats.
One thing to remember, the more highly-processed a chocolate is, the greater is the variance of the flavonols from the original, the less likely is it to have any health benefits. Also, the darker and more bitter the chocolate bar, the greater is the chance that it is less processed; hence, it contains sufficiently greater amounts of flavonols. To keep it simple, dark and bitter chocolate is better for your health than brown, cream, or white-colored sweet chocolates.
What are the Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate?
The main health benefit of the flavonols in dark chocolates is in cardio-protection. It is generally regarded as useful in lowering the risk of developing atherosclerosis or the narrowing of a major blood vessel because of the deposition of fatty plaques on the inner surface of the blood vessel wall. This helps improve blood flow to all vital organs of the body, including the muscles of the heart itself. Flavonols are known to reinforce the structural strength of blood vessels as well as maintain a more stable hemodynamic flow. It prevents the unnecessary aggregation of platelets to prevent blood clots and ensure a steadier flow of blood.
- Dark chocolate has antioxidants that can mitigate the damaging effects of free radicals that accumulate inside the human body. Used with other anti-oxidants, flavonols can provide ample protection at the cellular level to delay the effects of aging.
- Dark chocolates have also been shown to influence inflammation by blocking the production and action of cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase. These two enzymes are important in the promotion of inflammation. Flavonols thus have an anti-inflammatory benefit.
- Dark chocolates have also been shown to protect the different brain tissues from cerebral hypoxia as well as assist in the regeneration of peripheral nerve cells (these are nervous tissue outside the brain and spinal cord). It is also useful in promoting optimum blood flow to the different regions of the brain, significantly improving cognitive functioning.
Get Your Dose of Healthy Chocolates
Choosing the right chocolate is an important step in leading a healthier chocolate-themed lifestyle. You will be glad to know that there are now health stores dedicated solely to providing you with only the best and healthiest chocolates to cater to both your cravings and your desire for a healthier you.