This Valentine’s Day, you might have received a box of chocolates as a gift. If you did, indulging in some sweets was probably a pleasure. But did you know that certain types of chocolate can actually be beneficial to your health?
For chocolate lovers, the idea that their favorite treat might be healthy is great news. However, it’s important to understand that not all chocolate is created equal when it comes to its impact on your health.
One aspect of chocolate that may be beneficial to your health is that it comes from a plant, the cacao tree. Like fruits and vegetables, chocolate contains phytochemicals, which are compounds derived from plants and have health benefits.
Chocolate is rich in antioxidant flavonoids, which have various effects on the body’s physiological systems. These flavonoids are also found in a wide variety of other foods and beverages, including fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, and wine. Some benefits associated with these flavonoids include improved blood clotting and reduced inflammation, which can lower the risk of heart attack and stroke, regulate insulin levels, and reduce stress.
Cocoa is one of the main components of the chocolate we consume and contains the flavonoids that provide these health benefits. Dark chocolate is richer in these beneficial compounds compared to milk chocolate due to its higher concentration of cocoa. For example, dark chocolate may contain 70% cocoa while milk chocolate contains around 25% cocoa. Additionally, dark chocolate contains less sugar than milk chocolate which gives it a more bitter flavor but has less sugar content overall.
So while indulging in some Valentine’s Day chocolates might feel like a guilty pleasure this week