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Why dark chocolate bars are good for your health

Why dark chocolate bars are good for your health


For many people, chocolate is love. It's the ultimate comfort food. It tastes good and makes you feel good.

But is that okay? for we? It's possible, as long as you choose the right type of chocolate.

It's extra dark natural chocolate. flavonoidssubstances belonging to the category of chemicals known as Polyphenol. Flavonoids are found in many plant products, including fruits, vegetables, tea, and coffee. Flavonoids are rich in antioxidants, which protect cells from harmful free radicals that increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, and other conditions.

However, if you eat too much of the wrong type of chocolate, you won't get the same effect. Many of our favorite chocolates, including those that come in red heart-shaped boxes, are ultra-processed candies loaded with sugar, milk, tropical oils, and even milk or white chocolate. Overdoing it can lead to heartburn, an upset stomach, and over time. weight gain.

“It depends on which chocolate you choose,” he said Uma NaidooNutritional psychiatrist, biologist, professional chef, and author of This Is Your Brain About Food: The Essential Guide to Amazing Foods That Fight Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, OCD, ADHD, and More there is. “A candy bar is not the same as a square of super dark natural chocolate. In moderation, dark chocolate can be a healthy addition to your daily diet.”

Flavonoids are found in cocoa beans and cocoa. Although these terms are used interchangeably, they are actually different. Cacao is a bean that comes from a tree, and the beans are crushed into a powder, roasted, and mixed with other ingredients such as sugar to make chocolate.

Countless studies suggest that flavonoids, including flavonoid subtypes such as flavonols and flavan-3-ols, may reduce the risk of heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes. Improve your mood. and reduce symptoms of depression. Flavonoids may also aid cognition and prevent cognitive impairment caused by sleep deprivation. In one study, the large, placebo-controlled, randomized COcoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS) trial found no difference in cardiovascular “events” such as heart attacks, but a reduction in heart disease-related deaths. was shown.

Davide Grassi, an associate professor of internal medicine at the University of L'Aquila in Sant'Mero, Italy, who has conducted numerous studies investigating the health effects of cacao, agrees. “Cocoa is different from the chocolate we eat every day,” he said. “Flavonoids have benefits for blood vessels and overall health and may help reduce the risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases.”

But he said it's important to distinguish between natural cacao, which comes from cocoa beans in the rainforest, and processed chocolate, which is made by mixing cacao with sugar and other ingredients.

Consider using plain cocoa powder in drinks and baking. “I use it to make energy balls,” says Julia Zumpano, a nutritionist at the Cleveland Clinic. “I mash them with almond butter and dates, form them into balls and store them in the fridge. It's a great way to get cocoa powder without adding saturated fat or sugar. They're phenomenal.”

How to choose the right chocolate

Experts say dark chocolate is often high in cocoa, low in sugar and high in flavonoids. Very dark chocolate is the healthiest form of chocolate you can eat. It typically has less sugar than other forms of chocolate and contains no milk or added fat.

“The darker the better,” he said. Eric Lim, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. “Milk chocolate has less dark chocolate, and white chocolate has no chocolate at all.” (White chocolate is typically made with cocoa butter, sugar, milk solids, and milk fat, but contains no cocoa solids. not.)

Because the study used pure cocoa rather than commercially available chocolate, it's not clear how much chocolate someone would have to eat each day to reap the health benefits. The latter are processed, can destroy flavonoids, and contain additives.

“The amount of flavonoids in the COSMOS study would require 600 to 700 calories per day for dark chocolate and more than 5,000 calories per day for milk chocolate.” joan manson, co-leader of COSMOS and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “You're talking about a lot of calories, but the flavonoid content is not guaranteed.”

Click here to learn how to eat dark chocolate

  • Look for dark chocolate with a label that advertises at least 70 percent cocoa. Some experts believe that 80 percent or higher is even better, since more cocoa usually means less sugar. “If you've ever eaten 85 percent dark chocolate, there's probably a point where you naturally stop,” Zumpano says. “Most people would have a hard time eating an entire bar.”
  • Please note that the label does not list the concentration of flavonoids. The darker the chocolate, the more flavonoids it may contain.
  • Consider eating at least 1 square piece (about 1 ounce) of dark chocolate every other day. Some experts recommend 1-2 squares daily.
  • Avoid milk chocolate and white chocolate. “Think of white chocolate like white bread,” says Kathy Deimeke, registered dietitian and health education manager at the University of California, Davis.
  • If you're concerned about sustainability and labor practices in cocoa harvesting and production, look for Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, or UTZ certification on the label.

Don't forget the joy of chocolate

Experts said chocolate should not be considered a “healthy” food in the same sense as raw fruit and vegetables, but no one should feel the need to deprive themselves of it. “Chocolate brings joy and happiness to people, so we never want to prevent people from eating chocolate,” Manson said.

Lim agreed. “It's a shame to turn chocolate into a medicine when there are other acute pleasures that come from eating chocolate, such as evoking great memories or reminding people of a connection to someone,” he says. The study is interesting, but more long-term research on chocolate may be needed, he said, adding: “It's a lot of work, but I'm happy to volunteer.”

Additionally, they said it's okay to fail once in a while, especially when it comes to love. For example, Glassy sticks primarily to dark chocolate. “Still, in some cases, you might want to eat milk chocolate when you're in love,” he said.

Have questions about healthy eating? Email [email protected] I may answer your question in a future column.

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