Chocolate Contains Healthy Ingredients
Chocolate includes flavonoids, antioxidants, and flavanols, all of which are very good for you. Flavonoids and antioxidants help rid the body of toxins and slows down oxidation, which can lead to the formation of plaque within arteries. Flavanols have the power to lower bad cholesterol, lower blood pressure and increase blood flow to vital organs. It also prevents the formation of blood clots. Chocolate also contains magnesium, copper, potassium, and calcium.
Can I Get Cholesterol
The type of chocolate you consume matters when it comes to eating chocolate for good health because it’s the properties of the cocoa that offer the health benefits.
Dark chocolate, because it contains more cocoa than other palatable chocolate products, has higher amounts of flavonoids and thus is more likely to exert a protective effect against heart disease.
To make the most of adding chocolate to your diet to lower your cholesterol, choose products with a high cocoa content that have the least amount of processing, which lowers the flavonoid content.
Products with high amounts of cocoa are proud of it, and percentages are prominently displayed on the label. Organic chocolate has usually undergone less processing than non-organic brands.
Additionally, other forms of chocolate, such as Halloween candy and hot chocolate, may contain undesirable ingredients that may raise cholesterol levels, such as whole milk.
It Also Helps Lower Risk Of Diabetes Heart Disease
by Candy Sagon, AARP Bulletin
More good news for chocolate lovers: A new Harvard study finds that eating a small square of dark chocolate daily can help lower blood pressure for people with hypertension.
The study joins the growing research into the heart-healthy benefits of flavonoids, compounds in unsweetened chocolate that cause dilation of the blood vessels. The Harvard study was announced today in Atlanta at the American Heart Associations science session on cardiovascular disease.
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Dark Chocolate May Slightly Lower Ldl And Raise Hdl
Higher levels of LDL are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Likewise, a higher level of HDL may potentially be beneficial for cardiovascular health due to its cholesterol efflux properties .
On the positive side, several human trials have demonstrated that dark chocolate intake may slightly decrease LDL while either slightly increasing or having no effect on HDL levels .
These effects may be due to the combination of the fiber content of dark chocolate, the fatty acid profile, and the polyphenol content.
Although the fat content of dark chocolate is primarily saturated fatty acids, the predominant fatty acid is stearic acid.
Stearic acid is a saturated fatty acid that numerous studies have shown to potentially lower LDL levels, particularly compared to other saturated fats .
White Vs Milk Vs Dark Chocolate
Dark vs. milk vs. white chocolate
White chocolate is made from a combination of sugar, cocoa butter, milk products, vanilla, and a fatty component known as lecithin .
It is most notable for its delicate ivory color. Because the sugar is not balanced by the solids found in both milk and dark chocolate, it is theoretically the sweetest chocolate available.
Milk chocolate is made from cocoa solids, cocoa butter, milk in some form, and sugar. It is well-known for being sweet and creamy. To be called milk chocolate, chocolate must contain at least 12% milk.
Dark chocolate is known to have less sugar than both milk chocolate and white chocolate. It does not typically contain any sort of milk. As previously stated, it is made from cocoa solids, cocoa butter, and sugar.
Interesting to know
Ruby chocolate Belgian chocolate manufacturer, Barry Callebaut, discovered a fourth type of chocolate, ruby chocolate, in 2017. This unique chocolate stands out from the rest with its red-pink hue. Its not colored white chocolate, but a color obtained from a specific type of cacao the ruby cocoa bean.
This popular new cacao variety is ideal for making bold, fruit-forward chocolate delicacies as well as bright Instagram-worthy chocolate confections.
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Dark Chocolate Is High In Flavonoids
Chocolate has over 300 naturally occurring chemicals within it. The most well-known include caffeine, sugar, and cocoa.
One of the lesser-known chemicals in chocolate are flavonoids. Flavonoids are also in red wine and have been found to lower LDL cholesterol levels as well as exert a protective effect against coronary heart disease.
Additionally, one-third of the fat content found in chocolate is in the form of stearic acid. Although it is a saturated fat, stearic acid does not appear to raise cholesterol levels and according to a review published in 2005, may actually lower them.
Dark Chocolate May Help Prevent Heart Disease And Lower The Risk Of Stroke
One of the biggest benefits that researchers tout is the role dark chocolate may play in improving heart health. A systematic review and meta-analysis published in July 2020 in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that eating chocolate once per week was associated with an 8 percent lower risk of blocked arteries. Another large study, published in May 2021 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, analyzed data from more than 188,000 veterans and concluded that regularly eating about 1 oz of chocolate was associated with a lower risk of coronary artery disease.
Research suggests its the flavonoids in dark chocolate that maintain heart health. These chemicals help produce nitric oxide, which causes blood vessels to relax and blood pressure to lower, per a review published in March 2017 in the American Journal of Physiology: Cell Physiology.
Because many of these studies are observational, the results could be skewed by people underreporting their chocolate intake. The studies are also limited in that they cant directly establish cause and effect.
A meta-analysis published in July 2017 in Nutrients, however, acknowledged that margin for error and still found that chocolate was likely beneficial in reducing the risk of heart health, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
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Do Small Amounts Of Dark Chocolate Contain Enough Flavanols
Chocolate is high in calories because of its sugar and fat content, so if you eat too much of it you could put on weight.
Studies have been carried out to find out whether small amounts of chocolate, eaten often, contain enough flavanols to have similar health benefits to cocoa.
A review of the evidence in 2016 suggested that a daily 20g portion of chocolate would need to contain at least 200mg of flavanols and 100mg of epicatechin to have a similar effect to cocoa. The processing methods used in the confectionary industry mean that 20g of chocolate does not contain this amount of flavanols so cant be considered to have the same benefits as cocoa.
Although it contains less than cocoa, dark chocolate does contain more flavanols than milk chocolate, while white chocolate contains no cocoa and no flavanols at all.
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Can Dark Chocolate Help Lower Cholesterol Levels
Meta Description. Chocolate is high in flavonoids and polyphenols: two powerful antioxidants that have the ability to alter certain mechanisms of cardiovascular disease.
A delicious, irresistible treat? Yes, chocolate is good for the heart. Thats what scientists are saying. But be aware that not all chocolate is good for you. Only dark chocolate, which contains 60 to 70 percent cocoa, may have beneficial properties that protect heart health. Some recent scientific studies have shown that eating small amounts of dark chocolate daily can lower blood pressure, protect cardiovascular health and improve blood cholesterol levels. The more cacao you have, the more benefits you get.
Final Words Does White Chocolate Raise Cholesterol
Chocolates are loved by many of us. But people especially those with health problems get scared of it due to its bad reputation associated with it like weight gain, acne, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, and diabetes.
However, it seems chocolate is not as bad as all we thought it was. And it might be good too. The main ingredient cocoa found in chocolates is a rich antioxidant. And these antioxidants may have a wide range of health benefits.
How better health benefits the specific chocolate provides will depend on the higher cocoa content and lower fat and sugar content. However, more studies are needed to understand more on this topic.
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Dosage Of Cocoa For High Cholesterol
Cocoa is most easily available in the form of chocolates. Since milk chocolates contain a high amount of fats, dark chocolate should always be preferred over it.
The recommended dosage of cocoa is around 26-40 grams of dark chocolate. This would mean that up to 200 calories of dark chocolate are healthy for daily consumption.
This amount contains the necessary epicatechin, flavanols, and other polyphenols.
Does Dark Chocolate Have Mood
Almost everyone loves chocolate and is it easy to hear claims that eating it makes us feel happy.
But is there any truth to this? Well, perhaps.
Dark chocolate contains a compound called theobromine, and thisalongside similar compounds such as caffeineis an alkaloid methylxanthine.
Theobromine affects our central nervous system, and research shows it may have a modest positive impact on mood .
There is also evidence that chocolate may interact with neurotransmitters and release feel-good endorphins. Chocolate contains the conditionally essential amino acid tyrosine, which is a precursor to dopamine .
Supporting these plausible mechanisms for dark chocolate having mood-boosting properties is a recent large observational study.
This study was a cross-sectional survey using data from 13,626 adults participating in the National Health and Examination Survey . Most notably, this survey found that adults consuming dark chocolate had a significantly lower risk of suffering from symptoms of depression .
Further, those who reported the highest intake of dark chocolate had a 57% lower risk than those who consumed no chocolate.
It is worth remembering that this is just an observational finding, and we cannot infer that dark chocolate caused this lack of depressive symptoms. For instance, it could also be true that people who bought the most considerable amount of dark chocolate had a higher disposable income, which could also impact happiness levels.
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Its Good For Your Skin
The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health lists vitamins and minerals dark chocolate is packed full of like copper, iron, and magnesium, to name a few that are also beneficial to your skin. Manganese, for example, supports the production of collagen, a protein that helps keep skin looking young and healthy. Other minerals, like calcium, help repair and renew skin, which is pretty important because, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, our bodies can shed up to 40,000 skin cells each day! Several earlier studies have also found the high levels of antioxidants in dark chocolate may protect skin from the powerful ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun.
Other research, like a study published in June 2014 in Nutrition Journal, failed to show any significant protective effects of antioxidant-rich chocolate against UV rays, but did show improvements in the elasticity of skin exposed to the sun, although the exact mechanism of this isnt known.
Raw Cows Milk And Foodborne Illness
Thinking about switching to raw cows milk, also known as unpasteurized milk? It has about the same amount of calories, saturated fat, and cholesterol as regular dairy milk, and some claim it has even more nutrients. But pregnant women and children should avoid drinking raw milk and eating dairy products such as cheese made from raw milk, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Since raw milk doesnt go through the process of pasteurization that kills potentially harmful bacteria like salmonella, listeria, and E. coli people with compromised immune systems are at higher risk of getting foodborne illness from it, though it has the potential to sicken anyone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unpasteurized milk is 150 times more likely to contain bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses than pasteurized dairy products.
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Is Dark Chocolate Healthy
When compared with other kinds of chocolate, dark chocolate stands tall. Dark chocolate has lower added sugar and fat than milk or white chocolate, says Peart, while noting it also boasts an abundance of beneficial antioxidants called flavonoids.
At their core, milk chocolate and dark chocolate have similar ingredients, including cocoa butter, sugar and cocoa solids. The two kinds of chocolate differ in their percentage of cocoa solids, however.
Dark chocolate has between 50% and 90% cocoa solids, says Peart. And milk chocolate has between 10% and 50%.
Unsurprisingly, the percentage of cocoa solids can affect the magnitude of dark chocolates benefits. The higher percentage of cocoa solids, the more flavonoids and the lower sugar, Peart explains. If youre doing 75% or 80% dark chocolate, therell be less added sugar than if you were at 50% dark chocolate.In addition to being lower in sugar, here are other dark chocolate benefits:
How Much Dark Chocolate Should You Eat A Day
approximately 1 to 2 ounces
What is the daily recommended amount of dark chocolate? The recommended dose is approximately 1 to 2 ounces or 30-60g, experts say. Indulge in anything more than that, and you may be consuming too many calories. A 1.45-ounce Hersheys Special Dark Chocolate Bar has 190 calories.
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Dark Chocolate Improves Brain Function
Because flavonols can increase blood flow to the brain, some studies suggest that dark chocolate can improve cognitive function and lower your risk of brain-related medical conditions, such as dementia and strokes.
However, more research is needed to prove beyond doubt that it is indeed the flavonols that cause this effect.
Search Strategy And Study Selection
We searched MEDLINE , CENTRAL and the ClinicalTrials.gov website to identify randomized controlled trials examining the effect of dark chocolate or cocoa-containing beverages on blood lipid profile. Our search was restricted to papers published in the English language. For MEDLINE search, we used the MeSH term cacao or the text words cacao, flavonoids or chocolate cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL and TGs, cholesterol. The search was limited to the criteria clinical trials, English and human. CENTRAL and the ClinicalTrials.gov website were searched using chocolate, cocoa or cacao as free terms without further restrictions applied to the search. Inspection of the reference list of all identified articles was also conducted. The latter method was repeated until all potentially relevant articles from these sources were identified. Retrieved studies were included if they met the following criteria: were investigating flavanol-rich cocoa products had a randomized controlled parallel-arm or crossover design included at least 14 subjects, 18 years and older and reported baseline and end of intervention mean and standard deviation values of lipid measurements for the active and control groups.
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How Much To Eat
Chocolate manufacturers do not have to report the flavanol content of their products. As a result, it is difficult to know how much dark chocolate a person would need to eat to maximize its health benefits.
The studies in this article generally used 2030 g of dark chocolate per day. Dark chocolate with higher percentages of cacao solids typically contains less sugar but more fat. More cacao also means more flavanols, so it is best to choose dark chocolate that includes at least 70 percent cacao solids or more.
Should You Eat Dark Chocolate Every Day
As with any sweet treat, moderation is key. One misconception often is, Well, dark chocolate is good for me, so I can have however much I want, Peart says. There are some benefits to dark chocolate in terms of antioxidants, like the flavanols. But theyre not compelling enough that we would say you should definitely include this in your diet. Pound for pound, its a high-calorie food. Its definitely something to enjoy in moderation.
Peart recommends thinking about your dark chocolate consumption much like you would consider your consumption of nuts. Both are filling meaning, you dont have to eat as much to feel satisfied and high in fat, so they are high calorie. You want to stick to smaller portions.
That being said, the reason why I do often recommend dark chocolate as a good option for a snack or a treat is because it has a strong bitter flavor, Peart says. We dont need a lot of chocolate to enjoy it.
Because of this strong flavor, dark chocolate is admittedly an acquired taste. When people first have it, they usually dont like it, Peart says. She recommends starting at a less-bitter dark chocolate and moving up. Start by having 50% dark chocolate and then move up to 65% and then 70% and work your way up.
Powerful Source Of Antioxidants
ORAC stands for oxygen radical absorbance capacity. Its a measure of the antioxidant activity of foods.
Basically, researchers set a bunch of free radicals against a sample of a food and see how well the antioxidants in the food can disarm the free radicals.
The biological relevance of ORAC values is questioned, as its measured in a test tube and may not have the same effect in the body.
However, its worth mentioning that raw, unprocessed cocoa beans are among the highest-scoring foods that have been tested.
Dark chocolate is loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants. These include polyphenols, flavanols and catechins, among others.
One study showed that cocoa and dark chocolate had more antioxidant activity, polyphenols, and flavanols than any other fruits tested, which included blueberries and acai berries .
Cocoa and dark chocolate have a wide variety of powerful antioxidants. In fact, they have way more than most other foods.
The bioactive compounds in cocoa may improve blood flow in the arteries and cause a small but statistically significant decrease in blood pressure.
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