When you are craving chocolate and take a bite into your candy bar, it’s a good chance that it’s actually not “chocolate” you are experiencing. What you do taste, however, is a very high amount of sugar, milk and other additives.
The Chocolate Cover Up
Most chocolate candy bars, with the exception of dark chocolate, contain less than 10% cocoa. Some well-known bars contain less than 2%, which certainly makes them candy, but chocolate? Not quite. Cacao is actually a bitter tasting bean and is often used in Latin America in its original role- as a bitter spice. It wasn’t until the Europeans came around and added their love for sugar into the equation and that we created what we call chocolate today.
Many people eat chocolate thinking it’s a wise choice because of the health benefits that the cacao bean offers. However, the small amount of cacao and the large amount of fillers, make white and milk chocolate rather unhealthy. While this may seem like bad news for the health savvy, chocolate lovers out there don’t fret because there is an alternative. Dark chocolate, that is 75% or more dark cacao, offers a variety of wonderful health benefits.
Studies done on the health benefits of dark chocolate have shown that eating it in small amounts, 2-3 times per week, is great for your heart. It works to lower your blood pressure, improve blood flow and may even assist in preventing blood clots. Not only does dark chocolate increase blood flow to the heart, but to the brain, as well. By increasing blood flow in the brain, it helps to improve cognitive function and even lowers the risk of a stroke. Chocolate also contains an ingredient called phenylethylamine (PEA). This is the same chemical that your brain produces when you are falling in love. PEA helps your brain release endorphins and creates a positive mood.
The benefits of dark chocolate do not stop there. Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants, which help your body get rid of free radicals that cause oxidative damage to cells. Providing your body with antioxidants is known to fight the signs of aging and protect your body from many types of cancer. It is high in vitamins and minerals, controls blood sugar and helps prevent cardiovascular issues. Dark chocolate also contains an ingredient called theobromine, which has been shown to harden teeth enamel. So, next time you’re having a chocolate craving, remember to reach for the real stuff and leave the “candy” on the shelf.
When you buy chocolate, do you buy dark chocolate with 72% or more cacao?
– The Alternative Daily