Chocolate Benefits And Harms : Chocolate is a favorite treat for many people. However, only real dark chocolate has health benefits, while other types can be made from completely different ingredients. Why is dark chocolate healthier than milk chocolate, and what is white chocolate made of?
How many carbohydrates and proteins are in various types of chocolate – detailed information on the calorie content and nutritional value. Is chocolate good for the brain, and why can it be toxic to pets?
Chocolate: What is it made of?
Chocolate is a food product consisting of a mixture of cocoa bean paste, sugar and milk. At the same time, the colour most often reflects the benefit – real dark chocolate contains antioxidants and vitamins, while sugar prevails in milk. In addition, white chocolate is made without the use of cocoa at all.
The father of modern milk chocolate, Henry Nestlé (founder of Nestlé), was the first to mix cocoa with condensed milk and sugar in the 1870s, and Rudolf Lindt (founder of Lindt) was a pioneer in the production of Swiss dark chocolate.
In turn, porous chocolate is made by passing carbon dioxide through a heated mass – and it is this gas causes a slight bitterness. Depending on the number of cocoa beans used, porous chocolate can also be dark (more natural) and white (based on cocoa butter).
Calorie Types of Chocolate
The calorie content of most types of chocolate usually varies in the range of 520-550 kcal per 100 g. The only difference is the sugar content and the percentage of cocoa beans – while the fat content in any chocolate is also constant and is about 30% by weight.
Even though the calorie content of different types of chocolate is almost the same, their nutritional value is added. Natural dark chocolate contains more protein, less sugar and less saturated fat, while white and milk chocolate are made from other ingredients.
Types of chocolate:
- black – 85% cocoa beans and 15% sugar
- dark – 70% cocoa beans and 30% sugar
- milk – 40% cocoa beans and 50% sugar
- white – 20% cocoa butter and 60% sugar
Useful Properties of Chocolate
Only natural dark chocolate, containing at least 70% cocoa beans, has health benefits. From a nutritional point of view, such chocolate is composed of 30% fat, 6% protein, about 60% carbohydrates and about 3-5% water. It also contains potassium and magnesium, plus vitamin A and B vitamins.
Vegetable fats (such as palm oil) can be added to other types of chocolate (especially milk and white), which reduce the cost of the product but do not bring benefits to the body. It is also important that such chocolate can contain a large amount of sugar and trans fats harmful to metabolism.
The Benefits of Chocolate for the Brain
Studies have shown that eating chocolate increases blood flow to the part of the brain responsible for efficiency and alertness after just 5 days. Scientists add that the antioxidants in chocolate can neutralize micro-inflammation in the brain – these inflammations provoke foggy thoughts.
The flavones and antioxidants in chocolate are also thought to work similarly to aspirin, they thin the blood, reducing the likelihood of clots forming. Moreover, according to studies, the positive effect of taking a portion of natural chocolate can last up to six hours.
Among other things, chocolate is beneficial for people with a deficiency of magnesium in the body, just like women on certain days of the menstrual cycle – because it contains this mineral. Ultimately, magnesium is essential for brain function and the production of the joy hormone serotonin.
Natural Dark Chocolate
Natural dark chocolate is the only type of chocolate made from real cocoa beans, not from cocoa butter and sugar (like milk and white). Such chocolate has a characteristic bitter taste, a harder texture – and a high content of nutrients.
Flavones are a unique type of molecule found exclusively in cocoa beans. According to research, flavones have powerful antioxidant effects and help the body regulate cholesterol levels and have a tonic effect on the cardiovascular system.
The flavones contained in natural dark chocolate prevent ageing of the skin and other body tissues. Note that dark chocolate also contains theobromine, a substance safe for humans but toxic to cats and dogs. This is why chocolate is bad for pets.
What is the Healthiest Chocolate?
From a nutritional point of view, black and dark chocolate is the most useful – due to the high content of natural flavones, micro-minerals and vitamins. Recall that white and milk chocolate can be made completely without the use of cocoa beans.
There are also types of chocolate with sweeteners instead of sugar. Note that the recipe for such a product is very different from ordinary chocolate. The flavonoid content of diet chocolate is usually significantly lower, and sweeteners are added in amounts that can cause digestive problems.