As Valentine’s Day approaches, you may be eager to indulge in a box of chocolates. While it’s true that too much chocolate can be harmful, consuming certain types of chocolate has been linked to various health benefits.
Many people may be skeptical about the idea that chocolate could actually be healthy. However, the answer lies in understanding what we mean by “chocolate” and “healthy”.
First, it’s important to note that the health benefits of chocolate come from the fact that it is derived from a plant, the cacao tree. Like many other plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables, chocolate contains phytochemicals – plant-derived compounds that have been shown to have numerous health benefits.
Chocolate does contain antioxidant flavonoids which have been shown to affect different physiological systems in the body. These flavonoids are also found in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables as well as coffee, tea and wine. The beneficial effects include dilation of blood vessels, improved blood clotting, reduced inflammation – all of which can lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke. Additionally, these flavonoids may help regulate insulin levels and reduce stress levels.
When we consume chocolate, we get two main components from the cacao tree – cocoa and cocoa butter. Cocoa is the non-fat component of the cocoa bean while cocoa butter is mostly fat. The flavonoids are found in the cocoa solids which means darker chocolates like dark or semi-sweet have more of these beneficial compounds than milk or white chocolates which contain less sugar but more added milk powder respectively. This makes them taste bitterer than other types of chocolate but also more nutritious due to their higher content of antioxidants and phytochemicals.
So while eating too much chocolate can lead to weight gain and other health issues, consuming certain types of chocolate can offer some surprising health benefits thanks to its plant-based origins and rich concentration of phytochemicals including antioxidant flavonoids.
In conclusion, whether or not you believe that chocolate is healthy depends on how you interpret “healthy” and “chocolate”. By understanding what makes certain types