How many times have you wished, hoped and dreamed that chocolate could be a healthier alternative for you?
Well, great news.... now it is!
Do you like chocolate? Silly question really! Who doesn't?...I'm a confessed chocaholic, seriously, I love the stuff. But I'm afraid it's the wrong stuff.
There are two types of chocolate in my book...one good (dark), the other type, not so good (milk or white).
Milk chocolate doesn't have any real health benefit, other than the fact it tastes really great and will expand your waistline at lightning speed!
Then there is the other heart-healthy type that is very rich in
Have you guessed what type it is?
Correct, we are talking dark chocolate here, ok?.
Yes it's incredibly rich in antioxidants.
Take for instance a 40g bar of dark chocolate. It can contain double the amount of antioxidants than a glass of red wine and is believed to have a similar effect to an aspirin.
About an ounce a day increases good cholesterol and prevents bad cholesterol from oxidizing, a process that may lead to heart disease. In fact, the richer in cocoa, the better.
Milk chocolate however, contains the least amount of cocoa solids, so the benefit levels drop.
Chocolate and cocoa powder are derived from beans that are rich in natural antioxidants flavonoids called flavanols. Possible benefits are lower risk of....
Type 2 diabetes
Cocoa powder contains more beneficial antioxidants than other chocolate products, but the processing and refining of it decreases its contents.
Pure chocolate (cacao) derived from the beans of the cacao tree has an incredible 26,000
rating. This far exceeds the
ORAC stands for 'Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity'. It was developed by scientists at USDA (United States Dept of Agriculture) and it measures or rates on a scale the total antioxidant ability of given foods.
I will refer to ORAC ratings throughout this website. Don't take it too seriously though, however it deserves our attention and will give you a good measure of a particular foods potency.
It's advisable to monitor your chocolate intake carefully, keep to small amounts.
An ounce of the dark stuff can contain up to a whopping 11g of fat. So compromise elsewhere in your diet to compensate for the calories.
Try mixing your intake with nuts or fruit for more good fats and even more antioxidants. And always eat a healthy balanced diet alongside it...don't overdose on chocolate!
And just a point worth noting that a recent study concluded that milk may erase the antioxidant benefits of eating dark chocolate.
This is interesting regarding antioxidant in chocolate...
Apparently the Kuna people of the San Blas islands (located off the coast of Panama) have a rate of heart disease that is nine times less than that of mainland Panamanians.
Why is this?
Simple..the Kuna drink plenty of a beverage made with generous proportions of cocoa, and because it is unusually rich in flavanols, it helps to preserve the healthy function of blood vessels.
If you keep your blood vessels youthful it will lower risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and dementia.
Bottom line...don't ignore the powerful benefits of antioxidant in chocolate (dark chocolate), studies have shown that it can prevent blood from clotting. But watch how much you eat, don't substitute it for a diet that is rich in vegetables and fruits, however it can be a small part of your ultimate diet plan. The message is just be sensible....and definitely enjoy!!
Use your cocoa powder with non-fat milk to make hot chocolate for a relatively healthy treat or dip fruit chunks in melted dark chocolate for a sweet and nutrient packed dessert.
Update...There is a new high antioxidant in chocolate bar just 'hit' the market. It's called Choxi+.
Here are some testimonials....
The Daily Mail: ‘Bursting with health-boosting antioxidants - the first chocolate bar designed to be extra-rich in antioxidants’ (November 5, 2007).
Channel 4 Food online: ‘It’s the news chocolate lovers have been waiting for; chocolate is healthy and you should eat it every day. At least that’s the message from The Queen’s chocolatier, Prestat, whose high antioxidant chocolate bar, Choxi, hits the supermarkets next week’ (29th October, 2007).
Look..if it's good enough for royalty, then it is good enough for you too!
Watch this short video on the health benefits of Dark Chocolate.
Related reading to antioxidant in chocolate at this website.