They say chocolates are guilty pleasures, but when you think about the health benefits, they are not so sinful at all. Dark chocolate and milk chocolate are two of the world’s famous and well-loved chocolate types. Both milk and dark chocolates are produced from cocoa, each with different added ingredients. Dark chocolate contains cocoa solids, cocoa butter and sugar, with little or no milk. Therefore it has bitter or semi-sweet flavor. Milk chocolate, on the other hand contains mostly milk and dairy fat, which adds to the creamy brown texture. Milk chocolate also contains double the amount of sugar than dark chocolate, which makes it sweet.
Both chocolates are made with cocoa, which has flavonoids that are known as flavan-3-ols, procyanidins, and epicatechins. All these three act as antioxidants that help protect the body. When the cocoa content is higher in the chocolate, you can already discern that the flavonoids are much higher as well. Flavonoids are said to have the ability to lower blood pressure, while increasing the good cholesterol in the body. It also reduces the risk of blood clotting and improves performance of the brain. If you are feeling down, flavonoids can help pick you up and even sustain the flexibility of your blood vessels. Flavonoids are also believed to be effective in fighting off certain cancers. Since dark chocolate has more flavonoid content, you can say that this has more benefits than milk chocolate. When searching for a dark chocolate, 85%+ is best as it contains the lowest sugar.
Dark chocolates have five grams of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, almost two grams more than milk chocolates. If you’re watching your carb intake, dark chocolate is much healthier because it only has half the sugar content but boasts four times more fiber content. Also, the iron levels you get in dark chocolates are much higher than milk. Plus, dark ones have more magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus.
Aside from possible protection against high blood pressure, dark chocolates could also help control cholesterol levels. This snack can prevent increase in LDL, which is considered the bad cholesterol, while increasing HDL, the good one. Once again, this can be credited to the cocoa content in the chocolate. Since dark chocolates can prevent hypertension as well as high LDL cholesterol, they can lower the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Some human dietary intervention trials provide scientific evidence of the vascular effects of cocoa flavanols and suggest that the regular consumption of cocoa products containing flavanols may reduce risk of CVD.
Dark chocolate should be consumed in moderation. Although the fat contained in chocolate consists mostly of types that don’t raise cholesterol, dark chocolate still contains a lot of fat and calories. Choose dark chocolate that contains cocoa butter, not other types of fat such as hydrogenated oils.
Please visit our website www.cdrnaturals.com for more information on this and other great health topics. Remember this article is for information only. Do not make any changes in your diet or lifestyle without first consulting with your preventive health care provider. We always pray for your prosperity and health, 3 John 2, blessings, Donna.