Is Chocolate Bad For Your Health?
The quick answer is “no.” But unfortunately for you chocoholics waiting in the wings, its just not as simple as that. Like any food, if enjoyed in moderation,chocolate has several notable health benefits. But there’s a dark side to chocolate that you ought to keep in mind as well.
Of course, there’s a dark side to everything if you shine a bight light at it, and the last thing I want to think while I’m tearing in to a nice big bar of Vosge’s is that I ought to cool my jets and savor a nibble here and a nibble there. The motto on my family crest is, after all, “Too Much is Never Enough”. But alas, the tale I’m about to tell you is a tale of nibbles.
Here Are Some of the Health Benefits of Chocolate:
- Cacao, the source of chocolate, contains antibacterial agents that fight tooth decay. However, chocolate with a high sugar content will negate this benefit. Dark chocolate contains significantly higher amounts of cacao and lower amounts of sugar than white chocolate, making it more healthful.
- The smell of chocolate may increase theta brain waves, resulting in relaxation.
- Chocolate contains phenyl ethylamine, a mild mood elevator.
- The cocoa butter in chocolate contains oleic acid, a mono-unsaturated fat which can raise good cholesterol.
- Men who eat chocolate regularly live on average one year longer than those who don’t.
- The flavanoids in chocolate help keep blood vessels elastic.
- Chocolate increases antioxidant levels in the blood.
- The carbohydrates in chocolate raise serotonin levels in the brain, resulting in a sense of well-being.
Now for the Health Risks Of Chocolate:
- Chocolate may contribute to lower bone density.
- Chocolate can trigger headaches in migraine sufferers.
- Milk chocolate is high in calories, saturated fat and sugar.
- Chocolate is a danger to pets (chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine, which animals are unable to digest).
Additionally, there are dozens of rumors and myths regarding the benefits as well as the risks of chocolate. Here are a few things chocolate Will Not do:
- Cause acne.
- Make you nervous or irritable: cacao contains the stimulants caffeine and bromine, but not in significant amounts in chocolate bars and nibs.
- Turn you into an addict: chocolate is not addictive.
- Raise your cholesterol: chocolate contains stearic acid, a neutral fat which doesn’t raise bad cholesterol.