So are you a chocoholic?
Are you one of those individuals who love chocolate but are health conscious at the same time? Do you have desperate cravings for chocolate but suppress them because you’re told that it is bad for your health? There is good news for all you chocolate lovers out there; you can now keep on eating chocolate without any guilt. Recent studies prove that chocolate consumption has more pros than cons and it is actually one of the healthiest foods in the world.
According to recent research it is said that chocolate is actually very good for you. It is rich in antioxidants and has numerous other health benefits including of lowering your blood sugar, cholesterol and elevating your mood. Chocolate is made from cacao beans that come from the Theobromo cacao plant. Half of the cocoa bean is made of fat in the form of cocoa butter. Cocoa powder is the edible non-fat part of the cocoa bean.
Chocolate contains a lot of the good fats such as oleic and linoliec acids. Cocoa has one of the highest concentration antioxidants of any of the food items including green tea and red wine.
Chocolate is the number one killer of heart disease- Cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate is excellent for the heart; it lowers blood pressure and cholesterol which are two of the main reasons for heart problems in our country.
Chocolate delays dementia and Alzheimer’s disease- according to a very recent study the polyphenols in dark chocolate are likely to delay and prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s. Now who would have thought chocolate could prevent old age diseases!
Appetite suppression- chocolate actually helps you LOSE weight? Isn’t that surprising? Dark chocolate is highly satisfying to the appetite and can actually help you to lose weight. Researchers in Copenhagen showed that men who first consumed dark chocolate later consumed 15% less pizza, which adds up to a lot of calories. Dark chocolate helps you reduce you calorie intake and helps you to control your diet.
Stearic Acid- the primary fat in chocolate is a saturated fat, but has much less negative effects on your blood lipids than most other kinds of saturated fats. The fats in chocolate are healthier than in other kinds of food.
Stress reduction- we all need this now don’t we? A chocolate maker’s lab has discovered that a small bar of dark chocolate significantly reduces stress hormones. Dark chocolate is the best cure for people who suffer from an anxiety disorder or depression. Chocolate is known to elevate moods and produce positive energy in your body.
Skin- did you know for youthful, moist and healthy skin a certain amount of chocolate consumption is absolutely crucial. A study showed consumption of 2 tablespoons of high-flavanoid cacao for 12 weeks resulted in skin that was smoother and moister.
Heart failure protection- a study on women showed, consuming an ounce of chocolate once or twice a week decreases risk of heart failure, hospitalization and death due to heart failure. Eating however more than the required quantity resulted in the loss of all these benefits.
Brain and vision- dark chocolate was found to increase short term cognitive and visual brain functions. It improves choice reaction time, spatial memory, visual contrast sensitivity and motion detection. Chocolate does not only elevate your moods but it is also a brain booster!
Did you know that chocolate was so beneficial for our health? Chocolate being bad for us is a myth and by believing this myth we deprive ourselves of all the health benefits that it provides us with. A certain amount of chocolate is highly encouraged for everyone.
We are told that chocolate is bad for us but there are reasons as to why this is said. Without a doubt if you consume too much chocolate and do not brush your teeth they will decay or if you eat chocolate in large quantities you will start to put on a lot of weight. Anything in an excessive quantity is indeed harmful and this is what people fail to understand.
After providing the health benefits of chocolate it would only be fair to provide the negative attributes as well. Chocolate can become an addiction. Eating chocolate increases the production of endorphins in the body that make us feel happy, for a person who is depressed or suffers from an anxiety disorder chocolate addiction can take place because it takes the depression and anxiety away, therefore the body can become psychologically dependant on chocolate to take negative emotions away. Chocolate also contains a lot of sugar and excessive sugar leads to weight gain, diabetes, tooth decay and various other problems
However, when weighing the harms and benefits of chocolate, it can easily be said that chocolate raises smiles to the lips of millions of people and being a chocoholic is no crime!
How many of you are chocoholics? How many of you thought eating chocolate has more negative effects than positive? Did this article manage to change your opinion?
This article was originally taken from Good Food magazine Pakistan written by Maleeha Usman (myself)