The word chocolate itself is so tempting that the thought of it can take you to a heavenly world. Most of the people who go on diets ask their dieticians, â€˜hope you will allow me to eat a piece of chocolate sometime?â€™ Yes thatâ€™s because it is a mood elevating food. Till now we have just heard the negative things about chocolates like high calorie food, causes cavities etc. But not many people know how actually can chocolate be beneficial for you. Chocolates are made from cocoa beans and there are various types of chocolates like milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, unsweetened chocolate etc.
Benefits of Chocolate
Chocolate though high in fat does not increase cholesterol as it has good amount of MUFA and PUFA (good fats).
â€¢ Dark chocolate has high level of cell protecting antioxidant compounds like epicatechin and catechin which enhances blood flow, healthy cholesterol levels and reduces blood pressure. The antioxidants in dark chocolate and cocoa called flavanols which are present in concentrated form. Flavanols have also been shown to stimulate the production of nitric oxide, a key gas inside artery walls that relaxes and widens arteries, allowing for the easy flow of blood and reduced blood pressure.
â€¢ Chocolate may prevent build up of plaque in the arteries and have anti clotting effects thereby protecting the heart.
â€¢ Despite of being sweet, chocolate has a low glycemic index. Flavanols in chocolate trigger the production of nitric oxide which widens the cells and allows them to accept sugar. It may possibly increase insulin and glucose sensitivity.
â€¢ Dark chocolate has high amount of magnesium which is important for people with hypertension, diabetes and heart problems.
â€¢ Chocolate is rich in copper which is necessary for a healthy heart.
â€¢ It is rich in potassium which reduces blood pressure.
â€¢ Milk chocolate is rich in calcium which is good for bones and teeth.
â€¢ They are also rich in iron which prevents anemia, weakness, irritability, headache etc.
â€¢ Chocolate is a concentrated source of theobromine which is a mild nervous system stimulant making you slightly alert.
â€¢ Chocolate is also rich in phenylethylamine which is responsible for some pleasurable feeling one gets after eating it as it releases endorphins in your brain. So even if chocolate is high in fat and calories, if eaten in moderation, it can easily fit in your daily balanced diet.