CHOCOLATE, AMAZING SUPERFOOD OR NOT?
The Inside Story & 3 Reasons to only eat it in moderation.
So is it really good for you? Well yes, but not too much.
Given that it is coming up to Easter I thought I would really check out the research around chocolate just to set your minds at rest. I only did paper research I didn't go out into the field and taste any. I thought I would leave that up to you.
For many centuries chocolate has been known and loved for it’s great taste and its beneficial effect on health. Recent research has revealed that cocoa does indeed exert beneficial cardiovascular effects.
With the latest findings reporting a 10% decrease in the risk of cardiovascular disease in those people have 3-4 servings per week (1). It is also recognised as having an effect on insulin resistance, blood lipids and in some studies hypertension, although that is still under discussion (2). These beneficial effects are thought to be as a result of an increase in the bio-availability of Nitric Oxide.
Chocolate is made from beans from the cacao tree, native to Central and South America. It is thought to have been created by the pre-Olmec cultures residing in present day Mexico.
The cacao beans were roasted then ground and mixed with hot water, vanilla, chili and other spices to make a frothy drink. The Mayan, Aztec and Olmec civilisations believed the chocolate beverage had spiritual qualities as well as being mood- lifting and an aphrodisiac.
Cocoa beans are believed to contain more than 300 compounds that are beneficial to your health.
- Flavonoids and flavenols, such as anthocyanidin and epicatechins. Powerful antioxidants that can destroy the free radicals, or chemicals, that cause damage within our bodies. &
- Dopamine, phenylethylamine and serotonin which improve your mood and make you feel good.
Dark chocolate has much higher levels of flavonoids and flavenols which is why it is recommended over milk or white chocolate.
- So why should you only eat it in moderation… well the negative effects of chocolate come firstly from the processing that occurs from the fresh cocoa seed to the final product. This processing can drastically reduce the amount of flavenols within the bean.
- Secondly all of the extra things manufacturers add to the chocolate of today that really aren’t good for us in large amounts. This includes sugar, full fat cream and milk.
- Thirdly the flavenol content is also affected by the agricultural origin of the raw bean in the first place.