One of the best foods available to humans might very well be chocolate. It is so good that it was even used as currency in some areas of the world centuries ago. Chocolate is a complex commodity that tantalizes the senses . It’s rich in taste, it has a beautiful colour that starts the salivary glands watering at its sight, and it has a texture that just seems to sooth the soul when it melts away in your mouth.
There is also a battle that goes on in the mind when eating this divine substance, is it good for you or not? Well the answer to that seems to be mixed it is a yes and no answer. The general findings would seem to suggest that yes, chocolate is good for you in moderation, with one caveat–it’s dark chocolate that is good for you and not milk chocolate.
It would be great if a “Kit Kat” bar was healthy to eat it but it appears that is not the case. Chocolate is most healthy in its purest form. Milk chocolate, which comprises most of the candy bars that people consume, has many additives to it that make it not so healthy. Additives like sugar, cocoa butter, lecithin, vanilla, and milk transform chocolate from a healthy “vegetable” like food to a candy. The studies that label chocolate as healthy only look at the types that are closest to pure cocoa as it can get.
The higher the cocoa content is in a chocolate bar the better its health benefits will be. The more actual cocoa in the bar means there is less room for the other ingredients as mentioned above to get into the mix, thus diluting any health benefits. The issue is many people don’t overly enjoy the taste of dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is known to be bitter, and not sweet. However, dark chocolate really gives one the true taste of the substance and it allows one to appreciate the nuances of the food without the other nasty ingredients that mask any potential health benefits.
Nowadays everyone most likely hears about antioxidants and about foods that are rich in them. For those who might not be aware, antioxidants help cleanse the body of harmful free radicals. These free radical molecules float around the body and can do damage to organs and tissues within. Many doctors believe that these are the cause of most cancers and other types of diseases and even aging. Antioxidants are believed to gather up the free radicals in the body and they in turn destroy them by processing them through the body’s digestive system.
Things known to be high in antioxidants are: red wine, blueberries, green tea, and acai berry. However, in a study by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) they found that dark chocolate contains more antioxidants per 100 grams than even blueberries. A diet that includes a high consumption of antioxidants could reduce the risk of heart attacks, high blood pressure, cancer, arthritis, stroke, and even cardiovascular disease.
Now like everything else this all boils down to moderation. Just because dark chocolate is good for you it doesn’t mean that one should eat four or five bars a week. Maybe one bar of a good quality dark chocolate a week would be okay as it would add more antioxidants into one’s diet in conjunction with other foods that contain them. Even though chocolate is delicious and potentially healthy, it should still be limited in its consumption. After all chocolate is still high in fat and even dark chocolate has some sugar in it–albeit less than milk chocolate. But sugar is not good for you and there is no way around that.
So the next time you’re craving chocolate, maybe think about going for a dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate. You might actually like the taste and the health benefits from it might make you feel better about eating it when you start to have that battle in your head on whether or not you should actually go for it.