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Health Benefits of Chocolate

Updated on October 11, 2015

Mmmmm... Chocolate

Chocolate is the most popular choice of snack in the world and can be found in almost every culture. There has been a hate campaign on chocolate since it was linked to diabetes and obesity. There are thousands of different chocolate recipes through all cultures, however chocolate has a few staple ingredients in all of them:-

  1. Cocoa Liquor
  2. Cocoa Butter
  3. Sugar
  4. Milk Powder
  5. Soya Lecithin
  6. Vanilla Extract

The fact is, chocolate in moderation can benefit you more than the campaigners will have you believe. Lets look at some facts about the benefits of chocolate.

Cocoa beans!

Chocolates most important ingredient is the humble cocoa bean! This super food does not get enough credit, so lets explore what makes it so great.

They are packed full of antioxidants: Cocoa beans are packed full of antioxidants which have been proven to fight the aging process, diseases and cell damage.

They are rich in Magnesium: Magnesium is an important mineral that helps to relax the muscles and aides the heart. Magnesium can be used to reduce the pain of headaches and fibromyalgia. Magnesium also helps the body to produce energy and gets it to where it needs to go.

They are Loaded with Iron: Iron is considered the most important mineral in the body as it helps carry oxygen in the blood. Iron helps the immune system and aides energy production to stop you from feeling sluggish.

With all this good stuff it is easy to see why the cocoa bean was seen as the 'Food of the gods' by the Aztecs. Cocoa beans contain minerals that greatly improve ones energy production, which is combined with milk and sugar (two of the fastest burning energy sources) to produce quick bursts of energy.

Soybeans on the left and Soy Lecithin on the right
Soybeans on the left and Soy Lecithin on the right

Soya Lecithin

Soy Lecithin is a byproduct from soybean processing. Soy Lecithin is a great emulsifier as it comes from a natural source and carries with it some great benefits.

  1. Improves brain function by helping the body to regulate cells.
  2. Rich in choline, which increases the metabolism of fats in the body - helps to breakdown fat so it are not stored in the body.
  3. Helps to fight cholesterol by breaking it down in the veins and arteries.
  4. Prevents the accumulation of fats in the Liver by keeping them dispersed in water.

Soy Lecithin compliments the health benefits of the cocoa bean by speeding up the metabolism of fats. Only by eating huge amounts of chocolate and excising very little can you actually put weight on. Studies have shown that eating chocolate can help you lose weight!

Vanilla Extract

Vanilla is another super food which has been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. Here are a list of the most abundant innards in Vanilla.

More antioxidants: Vanilla has over 200 antioxidants, which will help fight free radicals in the body.

Natural antibacterial: You can ingest Vanilla to help your skin look and feel great. Vanillas antibacterial properties will help pimples, acne and even reduce the aging process.

Aromatic Scent: Vanilla helps give chocolate its alluring aroma. This is also a health benefit as sniffing Vanilla can help reduce stress and anxiety.

Vanilla is packed full of useful compounds that enrich the other ingredients in chocolate to help fight disease. The antioxidants in cocoa and vanilla combined are enough to notably reduce the aging process in moderate amounts. A study conducted by men over a 65 year period found that those who regularly ate chocolate lived on average 1 year more than those who did not.

Chocolate mixing machine

The Scale

Yes, Chocolate has its downside as one of the main ingredients in it is sugar! Sugar has been linked to diabetes and hyperactivity in children. However, Sugar is not all doom and gloom as it can be one of the most effective power sources our bodies have. Sugar is an extremely fast burning carbohydrate, which is useful during exercise. Large amounts of sugar without exercise can cause obesity and sluggishness. The body can easily become hooked on sugar and it is hard to kick the habit.

Taking everything into account I find it hard to believe the campaigners because there is just too much evidence to support the health benefits of chocolate. Most scientific studies on chocolate and its link to obesity are not based solely on the consumption of chocolate. Studies that do focus solely on the consumption of chocolate find that it helps to improve weight loss.

Taking all of the information into account I would say chocolate edges on the healthier side of the scale. If health problems are caused by chocolate then they come from a combination of poor exercise and/or mass consumption of chocolate, which studies show huge consumption of even the healthiest foods can cause health problems.

Do you think chocolate in moderation is healthy?

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