The "secret" of dark chocolate
1. Frequently asked questions about dark chocolate
Chocolate has been around for centuries. The Maya traded cocoa beans because of their economic value, from which chocolate was produced as a commodity. In 1519, the Aztecs discovered they could make a delicious drink by adding water and sweeteners to roasted cocoa beans. Chocolate bars appeared later in the 18th century, by mixing chocolate with milk.
Are all chocolates healthy?
Chocolate may indeed be good for you, but not all chocolate is created equal. If you're after health benefits, forget about chewy, caramel, marshmallow or creamed chocolate and stick with dark chocolate.
Why is dark chocolate a better choice than white or milk chocolate?
The health benefits of chocolate come from flavonoids, a type of phytochemical found in cocoa beans. Dark chocolate contains a higher percentage of cocoa than white or milk chocolate. And the more cocoa a chocolate product contains, the richer its health-promoting content.
Why do some chocolates have a cocoa percentage on the label?
The higher the percentage of cocoa, the higher the flavonoid content. Most milk chocolate contains up to 50% cocoa, while some cheaper chocolates contain only 7% cocoa. Look for dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa to get plenty of healthy flavonoids.
What is the difference in calories in cocoa, toasted chocolate and chocolate candy?
Most of the chocolate we eat today is a combination of cocoa solids, fat, sugar, and in the case of milk chocolate, milk. The fat and calorie composition of chocolates are different, specifically as follows:
Pure cocoa powder: (2 tablespoons): 40 calories, 1 gram fat, 0 grams saturated fat Baked chocolate Unsweetened (1 ounce): 140 calories, 14 grams fat, 9 grams saturated fat. Semisweet or milk chocolate (1 ounce): 135 calories, 8.5 grams fat, 5 grams saturated fat. Dark Chocolate (1 ounce): 142 calories, 10 grams fat, and 6 grams saturated fat. What is the difference between cocoa powder, baking chocolate, dark chocolate, milk and white chocolate?
The difference is only in how chocolate is made. Cocoa beans are roasted, graded and ground to form chocolate liquor, which also contains cocoa butter.
Unsweetened Baked Chocolate is chocolate liquor that has been solidified and pressed. Cocoa powder is cocoa butter that is separated from the chocolate liquor and dried into cocoa powder. Dark chocolate is a blend of sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate liquor, and sometimes vanilla. Milk chocolate is made by adding milk or powdered milk to a dark chocolate recipe. White chocolate contains sugar, cocoa butter, milk or powdered milk and vanilla but no chocolate alcohol. Emulsifiers are often added to chocolate candies to create a consistency that has a smooth texture and mouthfeel. For high-priced chocolates, it is processed longer to increase the mouthfeel.
Is chocolate really an aphrodisiac?
The Aztecs considered chocolate to be a royal aphrodisiac. The Maya associated chocolate with their fertility god. This is a fact that has been scientifically proven through research. Chocolate contains the chemicals phenylethylamine and serotonin, which are thought to be mild aphrodisiacs and mood enhancers. Eating chocolate makes you feel good, even euphoric. But chocolate's aphrodisiac qualities are more about the sensation of pleasure as it melts in your mouth than aphrodisiac.
2. What is the effect of dark chocolate?
The composition of dark chocolate contains several compounds with antioxidant properties, such as flavonoids and polyphenols. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and prevent oxidative stress. Oxidative stress refers to an excessive amount of free radicals that can cause damage to cells and tissues in the body.
Oxidative stress contributes to the body's natural aging process. Over time, oxidative stress can also have significant effects such as contributing to the development of many diseases, such as:
Heart disease Diabetes Parkinson's Disease Alzheimer's Disease Cancer Eye disease Heart disease risk
Regular consumption of dark chocolate can help you reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Certain compounds in dark chocolate, especially flavanols, influence two main risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
The flavanols in dark chocolate stimulate the production of Nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide works to dilate or widen dilated blood vessels, which improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure.
A 2015 study investigated the effects of chocolate consumption in 60 people with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. The researchers found that participants who ate 25 grams (g) of dark chocolate daily for eight weeks had much lower blood pressure than subjects who consumed the same amount of chocolate but with white chocolate.
The findings of a 2017 review study suggest that the beneficial effects of dark chocolate on blood pressure may be more significant in older adults and those at high risk for cardiovascular disease.
Dark chocolate contains several compounds such as polyphenols and theobromine, which are two substances that can reduce the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the body and increase the level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Nutritionists often refer to LDL cholesterol as "bad cholesterol" and HDL cholesterol as "good cholesterol."
In 2017, a group of scientists reported that eating dark chocolate for 15 days increased HDL cholesterol levels in people with HIV. However, consumption of dark chocolate did not affect LDL cholesterol levels in the study participants.
Inflammation is part of the body's natural immune response to germs and other harmful substances. However, chronic inflammation can damage cells and tissues and can increase the risk of a number of conditions, including type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and certain types of cancer.
In addition to the substances mentioned above, dark chocolate also contains compounds that have anti-inflammatory effects and help reduce inflammation in the body.
A study was done from 2018 on 5 healthy people to examine the effects of dark chocolate on the body's immune system. The results showed that consuming a large amount of dark chocolate with 70% content affected the activity of genes that regulate immune responses.
In 2018, researchers did another study and found that eating 30g of 84% dark chocolate daily for 8 weeks significantly reduced inflammatory biomarkers in people with diabetes type 2 sugar. The study's authors concluded that additional studies are needed to evaluate the optimal amount of dark chocolate for use in the treatment of diabetes.
3. Eat dark chocolate the right way
Studies recommend that consumers consume 20–30 g of dark chocolate per day. Dark chocolate with a higher percentage of cocoa solids typically contains less sugar but more fat. More cocoa also means more flavanols, so it's best to choose dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa solids.
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