Is Chocolate Good For You?

dark chocolate on counter top

Is chocolate good for you? The answer is yes! But don’t go raiding the fridge just yet. Chocolate’s health benefits come from cocoa solids, so the darker the chocolate, the more health benefits it will have. Therefore, the best chocolate for you is rich in cocoa like cocoa nibs, not your average chocolate bar!

This nākd. blog will tell you everything you need to know about why chocolate is good for you and how you can reap the benefits.

What is chocolate?

Chocolate is made from the beans of cocoa trees. This makes chocolate an inherently plant based food. They grow in pods on the trunks of the trees and there are 20 to 50 beans in each pod. The beans have a pinkish pulp surrounding them when they’re fresh and this pulp is the source of chocolate’s flavour.

The beans are then dried and roasted before they’re ground into a paste that has a bitter taste. The paste is mixed with sugar, vanilla and butter to make chocolate as we know it. Cocoa butter can be used to ensure the chocolate remains vegan friendly.

Unlike other varieties, dark chocolate does not contain milk. This means it has a higher percentage of cocoa contained in the bar, and therefore a greater concentration of antioxidants which is why it contains more health benefits.

Why is dark chocolate good for you?

Cocoa solids contain antioxidant chemicals called flavonoids. These are found naturally in some plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, teas and olive oil. Flavonoids are antioxidants that help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals in the body.

However, chocolate bars typically contain added sugar and fat. This means that the health benefits of eating chocolate are often counterbalanced by its calories, fat and sugar content. People looking to eat chocolate for its health benefits should look for darker chocolates with more cocoa, less sugar and few additives.

Our chocolate flavoured nākd. products are made with 100% natural ingredients. This makes them a great, healthier alternative to chocolate bars because they contain no added sugar or syrups. Check out our nākd. Chocolish range, or Cocoa Orange and Cocoa Delight snack bars to see for yourself.

Dark chocolate benefits:

  • Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants – Dark chocolate contains polyphenols, which are antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect your body from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that can form when you’re exposed to things like radiation and can lead to serious health conditions.
  • Protects your skin from sun damage – The protective antioxidants means that eating dark chocolate can protect your skin against inflammation and sun damage by increasing blood flow and improving hydration. This could help prevent premature ageing and wrinkling of the skin.
  • May lower blood pressure – High blood pressure is linked to heart disease, stroke and other nasty conditions. Dark chocolate contains compounds called flavonoids which increase blood flow and lower blood pressure — both important risk factors for heart disease.
  • May lower cholesterol levels – The flavonoids in dark chocolate might help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and raise “good” HDL cholesterol levels. This can help fight plaque buildup in arteries which could lead to heart disease or stroke.
  • Natural source of energy – Dark chocolate contains stimulants like caffeine and theobromine, which has been providing us with energy since the Aztecs! The Aztecs valued cocoa beans so much that they even used it as currency.
  • Full of nutrients – Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients that can positively affect your health. In particular, dark chocolate contains a significant level of heart-healthy nutrients such as magnesium, copper, iron and zinc — all essential minerals that have been found to have beneficial health effects on your blood pressure and heart.

In conclusion, cocoa has some excellent health benefits that we can reap by eating dark chocolate, or chocolate with a high cocoa content. This is because cocoa beans grow on a tree and have similar nutritional properties to other fruits and vegetables. But, just like everything, it’s best in moderation and you should always check that no other nasty additives have been added to your chocolate that could counteract its nutritional value. At nākd. we ensure all our products are made with the finest natural ingredients which are packed full of nutrients and made with no added sugars.

For more blogs on nutrition read our guides to the Benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acids and The Difference Between Probiotics and Prebiotics.

 

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