Today is World Chocolate Day. Chocolate has become a staple “naughty” treat but are there any benefits? While milk chocolate varieties are high in sugar and fat, dark chocolate could have a beneficial effect on our health. Here are my facts on this sweet treat:
Chocolate is very nutritious
Despite it’s bad rep, dark chocolate contains a lot of nutrients. In particular:
- Soluble fibre
It contains antioxidants
When certain types of oxygen molecules are able to move freely around our bodies, they can cause oxidative damage and form free radicals. This can wreak havoc on our bodies. This effect can often be caused by poor nutrition, toxin exposure, etc.
Antioxidants inhibit oxidation. Dark chocolate contains high amounts of two groups of antioxidants called flavonoids and polyphenyols giving you a fighting chance against the damage of oxidation.
It may help to prevent some diseases
Bold claims, I know. Some studies claim that the nutrients found in dark chocolate may help to promote better blood flow throughout the body therefore, increasing heart health. It’s also been said that the antioxidants in dark chocolate may help to boost the immune system.
It can boost your mood
Studies have revealed that dark chocolate contains phenethylamine which is a compound that releases endorphins. Endorphins can enhance our moods and make us feel happier.
The bottom line is that while dark chocolate has been shown to have some benefits for our health, it does not mean we can eat large amounts everyday. Stick to a couple of squares of chocolate and opt for dark chocolate with 70% or higher cocoa content over milk or white chocolate.