The benefits of eating chocolate. Do we actually need to deny it to ourselves?

Chocolate is one of the most popular confectionery products in the world. Almost everyone knows its taste. Although it is sometimes mentioned as a high-calorie product, consumed in appropriate amounts, it can bring a lot of health benefits.

Photo by Anete Lusina: https://www.pexels.com/photo/sweet-chocolate-bars-on-plate-4791265/

Many people associate a healthy diet with numerous sacrifices. They mainly concern highly processed products and sweets. However not everything that contains sugar and fat has to disappear from our fit menu. One of such products is chocolate.

Why eating chocolate can be beneficial to your health? How to eat it and which is the healthiest?

Chocolate — types and division

Chocolate is a confectionery product, which is produced using cocoa mass, cocoa butter, sugar and, in the case of milk chocolate, milk. There are many types of chocolate available on the market, but the most common are:

  • milk chocolate,
  • dark chocolate,
  • dessert chocolate,
  • white chocolate.

What distinguishes them from each other? First of all, the composition, especially the amount of cocoa solids, which largely determines the nutritional value of the product. So which chocolate is the healthiest?

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-assorted-chocolates-4110099/

If we feel like eating something sweet, there is no healthier choice than chocolate or a mixture of chocolate and fruit or nuts. I personally recommend dark chocolate — which is by far the healthiest in the whole realm of cocoa bean products. A great idea is e.g. fondue made of dark chocolate with fresh fruit. However, we must remember that it is not only important what we choose for a sweet snack, but also how many calories we ultimately consume.

Properties of dark, milk and white chocolate

As we already know, the healthiest chocolate is dark chocolate, which should have min. As we know, dark chocolate is considered to be the healthiest chocolate and should contain at least 70% cocoa solids. It is the powdered cocoa beans that give chocolate its health-promoting properties. Cocoa is a valuable source of many essential vitamins, elements, microelements and healthy fats.

Photo by Pixabay: https://www.pexels.com/photo/coffee-dark-candy-chocolate-65882/

So what will we provide to the body by consuming dark chocolate?

  • magnesium
  • sodium
  • potassium
  • iodine
  • vitamin B6
  • iron
  • folic acid
  • vitamin K
  • phosphorus
  • zinc

Bitter chocolate is valued above all for its large amounts of magnesium. It is thanks to it that the delicacy positively influences:

  • proper functioning of the nervous system;
  • proper functioning of the brain and muscles, including the heart;
  • supports the circulatory system — prevents the formation of blood clots;
  • has an anti-inflammatory effect and protects against muscle cramps;
  • regulates sugar levels in the body, which prevents the development of insulin resistance and type II diabetes.

Second in terms of health-promoting properties is milk chocolate. It is characterized by a much lower cocoa content, ranging from 20 to 40%. However, it does contain milk and a larger amount of sweeteners. Milk chocolate is a good source of energy, causing the secretion of the happy hormone serotonin.

White chocolate is the least beneficial to our health. It contains no cocoa mass at all. It is made by melting cocoa butter. In addition, milk powder and sugar are also used in its production.

Photo by Susanne Jutzeler: https://www.pexels.com/photo/pile-of-chocolate-bar-1693027/

Chocolate — how many calories does it have

It may come as a surprise that the calorie content of all chocolate is similar. Usually a 100-gram bar of chocolate provides the body with approximately 530 kcal. The most calorific are dark chocolates. Why? Because they contain the highest amount of cocoa and therefore fat, but far less sugar. However sugars, i.e. carbohydrates, provide our body with fewer calories than fats.

Other factors influence the calorific value of chocolate. We should mention here first of all additives which often enrich these confectionery products. These are usually nuts, raisins, fruit mousses, etc. Thus, the calorie content of a product may be higher if it contains particular additives.

Chocolate — how often to consume it?

Although chocolate, especially dark chocolate, has many health-promoting properties, it should be eaten in moderation. The optimal value is to eat 2 to 3 chocolate cubes a day. People who are not recommended to eat chocolate include:

  • people who are allergic to cocoa or any other ingredient in chocolate,
    Those suffering from frequent constipation,
  • people suffering from urinary tract problems and kidney stones — chocolate contains oxalates which may intensify the symptoms of such conditions;
  • people suffering from peptic ulcer disease.

To sum up: chocolate is an extremely tasty snack that does not have to be completely eliminated from our diet, even if we want to eat well and healthily. It has many valuable properties for our body and it also improves our mood. If only we do not have any contraindications — let’s enjoy it for health!

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