Yes, it’s true, Dark Chocolate which is high in cocoa solids (70% or more) is now recognized as having many qualities that are beneficial to health, and with Easter fast approaching this is good news but read on to make sure you are eating the right chocolate
Dark Chocolate contains essential trace elements and nutrients such as iron, calcium and potassium, and vitamins A. B1, C, D, and E.
Cocoa is also the highest natural source for Magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is linked with hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, joint problems and pre-menstrual tension (PMT or PMS).
There are benefits in Dark Chocolate for both men and women:
The high Magnesium content of Dark Chocolate has health benefits for the Cardiovascular System and hypertension – the fat in high quality plain chocolate (although technically a ’saturated fat’) can be considered cholesterol free as it does not clog up the arteries or contribute to high cholesterol levels.
It’s a pre-menstrual drop in progesterone levels which is responsible for the violent mood swings familiar to so many women (and their families), adding magnesium to a sufferers diet has been proved to increase pre-menstrual progesterone levels, thus alleviating the problem.
Antioxidants in Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate — but not milk chocolate or dark chocolate eaten with milk — is a potent antioxidant, report Mauro Serafini, PhD, of Italy’s National Institute for Food and Nutrition Research in Rome, and colleagues. Their report appears in the Aug. 28 issue of Nature. Antioxidants gobble up free radicals, destructive molecules that are implicated in heart disease and other ailments.
“Our findings indicate that milk may interfere with the absorption of antioxidants from chocolate … and may therefore negate the potential health benefits that can be derived from eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate.” As an aside milk also reduces the antioxidant benefits of drinking tea.
Translation: Say “Dark, please,” when ordering at the chocolate counter. Don’t even think of washing it down with milk. And if health is your excuse for eating dark chocolate, remember the word “moderate” as you nibble.
WHAT IS THE HEALTHIEST CHOCOLATE?
It’s a fact that plain dark chocolate products containing a minimum 70% or more cocoa solids are the healthiest and the best way to satisfy a craving for chocolate, without consuming too much sugar and saturated fat or HVO. If you’re a Milk or White Chocolate lover, choose products with a minimum of 30% chocolate solids (Milk Chocolate) or 30% chocolate butter (white chocolate).
Chocolate lovers go wrong by choosing cheap (& not so cheap) “brand name” chocolate or chocolates, low in chocolate solids (ave is less than 20% chocolate solids, but some can contain less than 7%), all are high in sugar content, saturated fats and other health hazards such as HVO (Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil) and consequently can be disastrous for both teeth and health.
Michael is head consultant at Planet Naturopath - Functional Medicine and Nutrition Solutions. As Seen