Written By Empress Of Pearl Powder
Sarah Anderson March 5, 2023
Chocolate is a wonderful treat, intensely comforting, creamy and deliciously Indulgent.
But, is it good for you?
What was once considered a sweet treat is now considered one of the top-ranking superfoods. But not all chocloate has health benefits. And, there is a dark side to dark chocolate. Read on to learn more.
Chocolate has been used for centuries to treat chest pain, fever, kidney issues, bronchitis, sexual malaise, fatigue, hangovers, headaches, anemia, depression, memory loss, heart issues, high blood pressure, poor eyesight, and more. It also helps release that feel-good neurotransmitter - serotonin - in the brain.
The earliest evidence for medical use was found in at least 600 B.C, when cacao was prepared in beverage form. One of the most interesting medicinal applications came from the Mesoamericans, who used cacao to treat snakebites.
The Italian physician, Paolo Zacchia (1584-1659) prescribed chocolate as a treatment for hypochondria. Few natural products have been successful in treating such a wide range of disorders as chocolate, from the bean of the Theobroma cacao plant, Carl Linnaeus named the âchocolate treeâ in 1753.
Dark chocolate is packed full of good-for-you antioxidants, including iron, magnesium, zinc, copper and phosphorus. Dark chocolate has several times more antioxidants than green tea or red wine. Milk chocolate on the hand, does not have enough cacao to benefit anyone.
The raw cocoa bean (the raw form of chocolate) is loaded with antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and plant phenols. Pure cacao is nutrient-dense and contains fiber, minerals, and flavonoids.These can be beneficial to the health of your heart and circulatory system.
Cacao is a powerful superfood, however, the more processed cacao becomes, the fewer healthy components remain.
The Dark Side Of Dark Chocolate
Dark Chocolate is high in saturated fats. A 1oz square of 70 to 85% dark chocolate contains 12 grams of fat. Which means, you will have to carefully watch that you don't eat other saturated fats the same day.
Did you know that Dark Chocolate contains coffee? Just 1oz of dark chocolate contains about 1/8 the amount as a cup of coffee. The two simulants, theobromine and coffee, can keep you awake, thus prevent you from sleeping sound throughout the night, which can lead to health problems.
Now, add sugar to that equasion, and you're at risk for all kinds of health problems, including unwanted weight gain, inflammation, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and more.
How Much Dark Chocolate Should You Eat?
Most experts recommend consuming 1-2 oz per day of dark chocolate per day, or about six to twelve dark chocolate chips. That is more than enough to get the health benefits of dark chocolate.
However, some scientists believe that more research is needed to back up some of these claims on how much chocolate you need to eat to gain the potential benefits.
Like all treats, moderation is key.
What To Look For In Dark Chocolate
Donât be afraid of the dark. The darker the chocolate, the more beneficial cacao it contains. The higher the percentage of cocoa solids, the more heart-healthy flavonoids the chocolate contains. Keep in mind: the darker the chocolate, the more caffeine it contains, too. If youâre watching your caffeine intake, youâll want to keep an eye on your dark chocolate snacks, too.
To choose the healthiest dark chocolate, check the label.
Look for one with a high amount of cocoa. Know your percentages: the number on dark chocolate packaging refers to the percentage of cacao bean in chocolate. For maximum health benefit, look for dark chocolate that has 75% to 85% cacao.
Because the bitter flavor increases with a higher percentage of cocoa solids, try taking a small piece and allowing it to melt slowly in your mouth. This may offer a different, more pleasurable experience than quickly chewing and swallowing the chocolate.
Look for one with no added soy lecithin, sugar alcohol, or palm oil. Also, look for one with 10 grams or less of added sugar.
Go raw, or as unprocessed as possible. Choose USDA organic certified dark chocolate.
Even though quality dark chocolate is a better choice than milk chocolate, it is still chocolate, meaning itâs high in calories and saturated fat.
Dark chocolate has many health benefits and can definitely be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet. Eating a small amount of dark chocolate every day can be really good for us, and it will make you happy, because it tastes so good.
There are many healthy ways to incorporate chocolate into your lifestyle, so find what works for you.