Chocolate: Hyped Or Good For You?
Chocolate is one of the most common comfort foods. It can lift your mood, and serve as a romantic food.
But most chocolates are sweet. They get a bad rap for their high calories and hence questions like, is it at all healthy?
Eating too much chocolate can lead to weight gain thanks to its high-calorie count.
The high sugar content is also one of the reasons people with conditions such as diabetes avoiding eating chocolate.
However, chocolates have many benefits such as;
Regular chocolate consumption can improve your cardiovascular health. This is because the polyphenols in cacao increase HDL cholesterol (often thought of as the protective kind of cholesterol), which in turns leads to decreased oxidized LDL cholesterol.
Chocolate can improve your mood, especially in high-pressure or stressful situations. Chocolate can also boost your mood for sex and life and work.
One of my favorite effects of chocolate consumption is a reduction in appetite. One study quantified this by giving participants a 100 g serving of either milk or dark chocolate two hours before being served an all-you-can-eat lunch. Ingestion of dark chocolate was correlated with a 17% lower calorie intake at the following meal, compared to the milk chocolate group. (I’d imagine that it’s because the casein in milk binds to the polyphenols in chocolate, making them unavailable to your body.)
Good for Blood
One study found the cacao flavanol epicatechin to be responsible for the rise in nitric oxide, which is essential for vascular health. Bioavailability of nitric oxide is an essential determinate of vascular health as it regulates dilation tone, signals cell growth and inflammatory response, and protects blood vessels from clotting.