Studying Chocolate Nutrition
Chocolate nutrition almost sounds like a dichotomy. How can something that has sugar and fat, and tastes so good, actually be good for us? Well, first of all, chocolate comes from a plant. The great thing about this is that fats derived from plants do not contribute to a rise in our blood level of cholesterol. So, unless milk is added, there is no cholesterol in chocolate! This is a big plus right off the bat.
Second, chocolate is full of antioxidants. According to AllChocolate.com,
When I think about free radicals I can’t help but picture loud, long-haired, hippie types shouting about something that we all need to change, but in this case, free radicals, which occur naturally, are unstable oxygen molecules that can disrupt cellular activity in our body. Therefore, reducing free radicals is a good thing, maybe in both cases. The ability of a food source to reduce these elements is called the ORAC value, the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. Dark chocolate is second only to dark plums in its ORAC level, due to the density of the antioxidant compounds in the cocoa bean itself.
Dark chocolate and cocoa contain high levels of cell-protecting antioxidant compounds. Two tablespoons of natural cocoa have more antioxidant capacity than four cups of green tea, one cup of blueberries and one and half glasses of red wine.
So, what about the fat found in chocolate? What are the chocolate nutrition facts about that? It is the fats in our food that can contribute to the rise of our cholesterol, but not all fats are the same. We have been hearing a lot lately about saturated versus unsaturated fats. Cocoa butter, the source of the fat in chocolate, is high in the mono- and poly-unsaturated fats, which are the kind of fats that do not change the level of cholesterol in our blood. Also, the saturated fat found in cocoa butter is mainly made up of stearic acid, which is converted to unsaturated fat in our bodies and does not contribute to a rise in cholesterol. Therefore, cocoa butter is a wonderful source of the fat that our bodies need to be healthy and not the other way around. Of course, if you add milk, then you are adding animal fat, which contains all of the kinds of fat that we need to limit or eliminate from our diets, depending upon our overall health.
Another benefit found in chocolate nutrition is the mineral complex that it delivers to the human body. This food was truly devinely designed to be a great delight for us all. Turning to AllChocolate.com once again we can see that
Chocolate and cocoa naturally contain copper, magnesium and potassium, which are vital for good health. One average dark chocolate bar provides nearly 12 percent of your daily requirement for magnesium, which may be important for people at risk of several chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
If I ever needed an argument for adding chocolate to my diet, which I don’t, this would be a great persuader to get me to try it.
While people who love sweets tend to go for the milk chocolate or highly sweetened choices, which may taste great, they do add a lot of sugar to the diet. Sugar is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s just that virtually everything we consume these days contains one or more of the different forms of sugar. The only way to really know is to bone up on what the different sugars are called, such as sucrose, dextrose, lactose, glucose, etc., and to read the labels, thus trying to keep our sugar intake to a reasonable level. Being one in the crowd that is addicted to sugar, I have to watch what I eat carefully. I can tell when I am getting too much of a sugar rush, or a lack of sugar which may be causing my blood sugar level to plummet, neither situation being a good thing.
Chocolate Nutrition Goes Beyond The Physical
Chocolate is one of the greatest feel-good foods on the planet. It is well known that chocolate helps the brain to release endorphins, which are our bodies’ natural relaxants and mood enhancers. Once you dive into the chocolate nutrition and its value to our overall health you can understand just how great a food it is. I recently discovered a chocolate bar that takes it all to a new level. It is from a company called Isagenix International and is called the IsaDelight. This little piece of heaven is a dark chocolate that is fortified with members of the vitamin B family, so you not only get all of the pros of chocolate, but you get the boost of the B complex to help cut the appetite and give you energy. The latest formulation now has green tea extract added to it to raise the ORAC value even higher. Now, it turns out that chocolate has also become one of the items in my diet that is helping me to stop craving other sweets and promoting weight maintenance, great health and energy. You have to love that!
From the office of Drew Berman, contributed by Seth Lefferts.
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If you like chocolate, you’ll love what chocolate nutrition can do for you!