Chocolate, that sweet treat that gets us in its sugary grip from early childhood, is typically viewed as a rare indulgence that we consume to reward — or soothe — ourselves. But numerous studies have shown that we don’t have to relinquish it to the occasional event. In fact, regular consumption can do a body good.
“Chocolate contains healthy compounds that are also found in many other healthful foods, like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, all of which are important for good health,” says Andy De Santis, a Toronto-based registered dietitian.Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate
“If someone follows a very strong, balanced diet, chocolate may offer a small additional benefit.”
But before you start scarfing chocolate bars and left over bunnies from Easter, there are some caveats. For starters, in order to reap any health benefits from chocolate, it needs to be made from at least 60 per cent cacao, De Santis says.
“Cocoa powder and dark chocolate (containing 60 per cent or more cacao) are high in a group of compounds known as polyphenols, specifically a subgroup of polyphenols known as flavonoids, which are found in a number of other healthful foods.”
They’re shown to have antioxidative activity, free radical scavenging capacity, coronary heart disease prevention, and anticancer activity, he says. While some flavonoids exhibit potential for anti–human immunodeficiency virus functions.Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate
Of course, portion control is also important when it comes to chocolate. In order to reap the benefits without piling on dangerous amounts of sugar, consumption should be limited to 10 grams per day.
Here’s a look at four distinct ways chocolate, its flavonoids and other beneficial ingredients can boost health.