Chocolate – The Ultimate Health Food

When chocolate was first discovered, it was a luxury only the rich and the elite could afford. It was considered to be decadent and sinful to eat anything made from chocolate. However, today research has shown that if eaten in moderation, chocolate can have certain health benefits.

Cacao beans, from which chocolate is extracted, has high content of antioxidants like flavonoids, phenols, catechins and procyanidins. In fact, dark chocolate has four times the antioxidants compared to tea. In addition, chocolate has amounts of iron, phosphorus and magnesium.

When a person consumes chocolates, the brain releases two chemicals — endorphins and phenylethylamine. Endorphins are chemicals that cause the feeling of pleasure; while phenylethylamine causes the same physical reaction in a person as falling in love. The smell of chocolate induces a sensation of calmness in the body.

Cocoa, also extracted from cacao beans, has the ability to reduce blood platelet adhesion, which in many people is responsible for headaches. In addition, cacao bean has certain ingredients that help to fight mouth bacteria and stop tooth decay.

However, it all depends on the type of chocolate you eat. Dark chocolate is healthier than milk chocolate, which has a lot of sugar and hydrogenated vegetable fats. Dark chocolate consumption is basically the best if you want reap the health benefits of cacao beans. Remember, the Swiss eat twice as much chocolate as Americans and they still have the lowest obesity rate in the world.

The next time you have the urge to eat chocolate, choose a type that will benefit your body. Opt for dark chocolate with lots of nuts as it is a good source of Vitamin E and unsaturated fat. At least you will not feel guilty about it.

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