Chocolate it's not that bad after all...

We've all been told that eating chocolate is bad for us, ever since we were children our parents, dentists and doctors have warned us about limiting our chocolate intake, but what if there was some scientific evidence to suggest it could come with some health benefits? 



Chocolate is made from the cocoa bean, grown usually in warm countries and then is separated into cocoa butter and cocoa nibs, mixed with some sugar, milk and other bits to get the chocolate bars we eat today. Not all of the components of a bar of chocolate have health benefits, but it's the cocoa that could help you. A group of Italian researchers have examined the effects of cocoa flavonoids and found surprising results, they have found "enhancements in working memory performance and improved visual information processing after having had cocoa flavonoids". This means that there was an improvement in memory function and the way in which we see and process information. Not bad ey! Many of the tests had been carried out in the long term show studies of elderly people and suggest that "cognitive performance was improved" as well as "attention, processing speed (and) working memory".  This is hopeful news for a lot of us chocolate lovers as it may have long term beneficial effects of the functioning of the brain. 

Other articles suggest the health benefits of flavonoids and their ability to fight free radicals (the bad guys) in your body as they are a natural antioxidant. But that's not the only thing, cocoa is also a source of theobromine which is known to have positive effects on the heart. It is possible that it could lower blood pressure by increasing the heartbeat and dilating blood vessels. These are all good points that suggest that cocoa may be doing some food to our bodies. 

However, flavonoids are ruined when they are cooked and processed which means that your day to day chocolate bar won't be of much use to you, raw cocoa and really dark chocolates are what could benefit you. It's also important to note that in milk chocolate, the added milk and sugar probably out weighs most of these health benefit as these ingredients can lead to a risk in weight gain and tooth decay, especially if you eat too much of it. So if you want to see some potential benefits to cocoa, get eating the really dark stuff. 

*Sources taken from www.sciencedaily.com & www.economist.com

Cya! 
Eryn 

1 comment

  1. Great post ! Cocoa has been researched for years and it's definitely a superior health food. However as you say, while cooked ( chocolate is roasted which is even worse) it looses it's antioxidants, and when sugar is added it just gets worse. So even really dark chocolate won't do it either - its just more roasted cocoa - you need to crawl towards raw cacao before it has any significant use in health terms.

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