Healthy Chocolate Benefits: Best Chocolate and Nutritional Facts

Chocolate is one of the most craved food items globally. In North America, chocolate is the most craved food item among women and the second most craved food item among men. Estimates suggest that on an average North Americans spend approximately $ 9 billion each year on chocolate products and consume about 12 pounds of chocolate per person per year. Is chocolate healthy? As a matter of fact, chocolate is loaded with certain nutrients and vitamins that are essential for good health. This article is about the various health benefits of consuming chocolates.

Best Chocolate: Dark Chocolate Vs White Chocolate
Dark and White Chocolate
Chocolate is prepared from cocoa trees which grow in parts of Africa and South America. The cocoa fruit is harvested and each pod contains seeds or beans which are dried, roasted and ground to release the fat and other aromatic substances. Refined cocoa is used to prepare the different types of chocolates that are available in the market,
  • Dark Chocolate or Bitter Chocolate: This is prepared by mixing cocoa paste to a relatively small quantity of sugar. This is considered to be one of the most healthiest forms of chocolate and loaded with several health benefits
  • Milk chocolate: This is prepared by mixing cocoa paste with butter, sugar and large quantities of powdered milk
  • White Chocolate: Prepared by mixing cocoa butter with sugar and milk.

In real terms dark chocolate is relatively more bitter compared to white chocolate and hence is less preferred globally. However in the United States and Canada, bitter chocolate is also consumed in large volumes.

Nutritional Fats about Chocolates: Health Benefits Chocolate
Chocolate has high nutritional quality and is a high energy food. It contains carbohydrates, fats, proteins and also significant amounts of nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin E and Vitamin D. It also contains significant amounts of calcium, potassium and magnesium.
    A hot Chocolate drink
    has various Health
  • Chocolate is loaded with flavanoid, which helps reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disorders. Flavanoid are antioxidants which prevent oxidation of bad cholesterol and thereby prevent atherosclerosis. Further these flavanoids help regulate normal blood pressure and studies have shown that dark chocolate consumption can act as blood tinners and prevent formation of blood clots. These flavanoids also help ward off development of cancer, which is caused by free radical damage.
  • Chocolate also contain Theobromine, which is considered to stimulate the nervous systems and prevent muscular fatigue.
  • Caffeine content in chocolate help fight fatigue and brain fog by enhancing intellectual activity and watchfulness. On an average a chocolate bar contains about 6 mg of caffeine.
  • For ages chocolate has been considered to be an aphrodisiac. Phenylethylamine a chemical which is a psycho stimulant is responsible for people falling in love.
  • Chocolate also contains Endorphins (natural opiates) and Tryptophan (an essential amino acid which stimulates production of serotonin). Both these ingredients help elevate mood and help in reducing stress levels. This is why chocolate is considered to be a mood food.

Healthy Chocolate: Implications of Excessive Consumption

Though chocolate are so healthy and considered to be very beneficial for health, excessive consumption of chocolate can be problematic. Here’s why,
  • Chocolate are loaded with energy and even small quantities of chocolate contain large volumes of carbohydrates and fats. Excessive consumption can result in obesity. Further, theobromine acts as a appetite stimulant, which can result in increased appetite
  • Excessive consumption of caffeine can result in wakefulness and is responsible for insomnia is many individuals. Consuming caffeine free chocolate cakes or drinks can help overcome this problem
  • Though not addictive, several individuals, especially those suffering from depression or stress can become highly dependent on the food resulting in the other health problems.
  • Chocolate should be avoided by people with diabetes or cardiovascular disorders.