Hello everybody! Welcome back to my blog. The purpose of this blog is to help people find their way to a healthier lifestyle. I mostly talk about exercise, nutrition and the science behind them, which are my areas of expertise, but I also talk about sleeping habits, minimalism and many other subjects related to wellbeing and healthy lifestyle.
A few weeks ago I talked about three demonised items that are actually really healthy: chocolate, coffee, and naps. Have a look at it if you missed it!
Today I want to dig deeper into one of them, answering to some questions about it. Let’s talk about chocolate!
WHERE DOES CHOCOLATE COME FROM?
Chocolate cones from a plant, the cacao tree or Theobroma cacao. This is a native plant from the rainforests of the Amazon and Orinoco rivers. It was brought to Europe by the Spanish conquistadors during the 1500s, and it was introduced in Australia in the 1920s.
WHY IS IT SAID THAT CHOCOLATE IS BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH?
The cocoa beans flavour is very bitter. It’s quite difficult to eat pure cocoa because of this, and not many people enjoy such an astringent flavour. For that reason, sugar and other sweeteners are added to soften the flavour and make it nice and sweet. This way, the public who will potentially buy chocolate is much broader.
The issue is that the amount of sugar that is added to cocoa have become unhealthy, and therefore chocolate has become the enemy of a healthy diet and an appropriate body composition.
WHAT ARE THE PROPERTIES OF CHOCOLATE?
Chocolate in its best purity has many unique properties. Cocoa is a powerful source of antioxidants, particularly polyphenols. Cocoa beans contain around 6-8% polyphenols by dry weight. These antioxidants, as the name indicates, protect our bodies against oxidative stress, and therefore it helps against pathologies such as many types of cancers and inflammation. A couple of weeks ago I shared a post about inflammation, check it out in the link below!
The right amount and type of chocolate may lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol. If you have followed me for a while, you know that LDL is knows as the “bad” cholesterol and HDL as the “good” cholesterol. A lower LDL cholesterol is linked to a lower risk of heart disease.
Another property of chocolate is that it may improve brain function because of its flavanol content. Flavanol can help reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow to the heart and brain. If you ever have a headache after a long morning typing on your laptop, have a break and eat an square of dark chocolate. Both the break and the chocolate will make you feel better.
On top of that, there are many interesting micronutrients in chocolate. There are 11 g of fibre in every 100 g of chocolate (if the purity is over 70%), it has large quantities of iron, copper, manganese, magnesium, as well as potassium, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc.
HOW MUCH CHOCOLATE AND WHAT TYPE IS THE BEST?
It’s completely safe to eat chocolate often, if it’s a high purity. A high purity of at least 85% will provide the benefits mentioned before without risking a sugar rush and the health consequences of it.
As any other thing in the world, you can get too much chocolate, even though you’ve changed to 85%+ purity. Watch out for how much chocolate you consume! A couple of squares a day or every other day is completely fine.
Eating chocolate of a purity of 85-90% is not easy when you’re used to white chocolate or milk chocolate, but it’s not impossible. Start with 50% and when you finish the bar, get the next percentage until you reach 85%. Combine your chocolate squares with a nice tea or a cup of coffee to sweeten your drink a little bit.
To finish this post, I would like to ay something else. If you absolutely love white chocolate, milk chocolate, or the odd chocolate bar, do not stop yourself from eating it. As I always say about junk food, processed food, or alcohol, the occasional treat is fine. It’s all about finding the balance. If you get used to dark chocolate and you don’t want to go back to the other types, good on you! Nonetheless, do not feel guilty about eating the occasional treat!
That’s it for today! I really hope that you enjoy it. If you like what I do and you want to support this project, follow me on Instagram and Facebook, like the post and comment! Should you have feedback you’d like to leave, a comment to share with me, or a cool idea for a post, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org