Is chocolate healthy? This article looks at the history, the benefits of chocolate and answers what effects chocolate has.
Chocolate -a natural mood brightener on cloudy winter days
Chocolate is often referred to as brown gold, so it is not surprising that the old Mayans used the cocoa bean as a means of payment. Chocolate is addictive! Not really, but the Aztecs considered cocoa an intoxicating food and was therefore not suitable for women and children. Today, women and children in particular eat chocolate in large quantities. Because chocolate makes you happy! With 11.3 kilos per capita per year, the Germans rank second in the European ranking. Only the Swiss distorts even more of the sinful candy. Fortunately, more and more useful ingredients are being found in chocolate, which make it a valuable luxury.
How did chocolate come to Europe?
As already mentioned, the Aztecs and Mayans in South America were aware of the useful properties of cocoa. They enjoyed cocoa as a bitter drink, granted only to adult men, priests, warriors and persons to be sacrificed. Chocolate found its way to Europe in 1528 when the Spanish conquerors under the leadership of Hernan Cortes discovered cocoa. At the Spanish court, however, chocolate was only appreciated as a cocoa drink around 1544 after honey and cane sugar were added. More than 100 years later the Dutchman Jan Jan Jantz von Huedsen brought the chocolate to Bremen. It remained an expensive rarity until the 18th century and was thus reserved for the rich. This only changed when cheap cocoa from Amazonia conquered the market.
Why does chocolate make you happy?
The chocolate contains anadamide and phenylethylamine, among others. These two substances have a similar effect to hashish and morphine and stimulate the pleasure centers in the brain. The thryptophan contained in chocolate also acts as a natural antidepressant.
Cocoa also contains cardioprotective antioxidants. One of them is a flavonoid called epicatechin. In addition, an antihypertensive effect has been proven.
Recently, cocoa is also said to have a growth-promoting effect on skin cells due to the N-phenylpropenoyl-L-amioic acid amide it contains. In the future, this property may be useful in the treatment of sunburn and as prevention of decubitus wounds in bedridden patients. This active ingredient is also very interesting as an anti-aging agent.
Picture credits: Iwona Golczyk / pixelio.de
Is chocolate healthy?
Chocolate is unhealthy, most people know that this simple formula is wrong. Science has shown that on the contrary, chocolate can be very healthy. Can, because as with all good things, it depends on the dimensions in which you enjoy the delicious candy. Here we explain why chocolate is healthy at all and how you can enjoy this characteristic when snacking.
Chocolate has various health-promoting properties, which are mainly related to cocoa.
Cocoa contains so-called polyphenols. These are plant substances that have a particularly positive effect on the blood circulation. They protect the blood vessels and prevent calcification and inflammation. Above all, they have an antihypertensive effect and of course this can also be felt in chocolate. The following applies: the more cocoa, the greater the effect of the polyphenols. This makes chocolate all the healthier. If you want to take full advantage of the health-promoting effect of chocolate, choose dark dark dark chocolate with a cocoa content of over 70%.
But in moderation. Because only if you enjoy chocolate in small quantities, the positive effect outweighs the negative properties of chocolate. Because besides cocoa, chocolate consists mainly of fat and sugar. Both materials are, enjoyed in excess, a safe way to more body weight, combined they wander even faster on the hips. The fact that chocolate is healthy is therefore no argument for eating a whole bar.
So anyone who wants to make the most of the health-promoting properties of chocolate enjoys it in small quantities. A little bit a day is enough.
However, those who find it difficult to portion chocolate bars can reach for pralines, for example. Chocolates not only provide the positive properties of cocoa, they are also a special taste experience thanks to many varieties.
Conclusion: Is chocolate healthy?
Healthy chocolate sounds like a dream come true, but chocolate has not yet reached the status of a healthy diet. However, the reputation of chocolate is on the rise, as more and more studies indicate that it can be a healthy choice.
Chocolate and its main component, cocoa, seem to reduce the risk factors for heart disease. Flavanols in cocoa beans have an antioxidant effect that reduces cell damage in heart disease. Flavanols – which are more common in dark chocolate than in milk chocolate – also help to lower blood pressure and improve vascular function.
In addition, some research has linked chocolate consumption to a reduced risk of diabetes, stroke and heart attack. However, further research is needed to confirm these results.
In the meantime, if you want to add chocolate to your diet, do so in moderation. Why? Most commercial chocolate has ingredients that add fat, sugar and calories. And too much can contribute to weight gain, a risk factor for hypertension, heart disease and diabetes.
On the other hand, unlike chocolate, cocoa itself is low in sugar and fat and at the same time offers potential health benefits. If you enjoy chocolate flavour, add dark chocolate to your low-fat milk or morning flakes!