Yes, chocolate isn’t only good for you, but research suggests that you should eat a little bit of it everyday. Now that is advice that I can easily follow.
But do not race down to the supermarket and pick up any candy bar you come across. When it comes to the health benefits of chocolate, not all of it are created equal. Dark chocolate without a doubt is superior to its milk or white counterpart (which really isn’t chocolate anyway).
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The Darker the Better
Some people just love milk chocolate, but when it comes to the health benefits you want to go for dark (Keen). So what is the difference?
Dark chocolate has less sugar and contains more cocoa. Cocoa, beans are naturally bitter, kind of like coffee. They are not sweet, yet have a pleasant taste.
Many foods like bell peppers are more nutritious in their raw state. The same goes for chocolate, the darker the less processed it is, which in this case means containing more nutrients.
Nutritionist Emily Bender states that some chocolates contain high levels of sugars, damaged fats and artificial flavors. One study says that “depending on harvesting and processing procedures, as much as 90 percent of the flavonoids can be lost during processing “ (Keen). Raw cocoa plant contain flavonoids which are chemical metabolites of antioxidant function.
This shows how processing can severely alter the nutritional value of chocolate. In many health food stores, you can buy unprocessed cocoa beans (cocoa nibs). They are very healthy, rich in antioxidants and magnesium.
Interestingly, many women crave chocolate during their menstrual periods, but it is really the magnesium they are craving. Chocolate is one of the richest sources of magnesium and it helps prevents cramping being a natural muscle relaxant. Bender adds that some people recommend unheated raw cocoa which doesn’t have damaged enzymes.
Why is Chocolate So Good for You?
In a study conducted in Italy on 4849 people, it was found that 20 grams every three days was the magic number to help reduce inflammation (Guiseppe). Other studies have also found that similar amounts were enough to cause beneficial health effects.
Inflammation has become a buzzword in the health community and has been connected to diseases like autoimmune, gums and heart diseases. It seems that the more inflammation you have, the more likely you are to develop a disease on top of it.
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