Hopefully all of you will be enjoying an Easter Egg this weekend, but may be feeling a little guilty with this sweet treat. Pehaps you would feel a little better if there was something good for you in chocolate!
Nutritionally, dark chocolate provides the most health benefits, whereas white provides the least. Nutritionally chocolate is high in potassium, magnesium and calcium with milk chocolate. It also has vitamins B1, B2, D, and E.
Chocolate is made from plants, which means it contains some of the health benefits of dark vegetables. These benefits are from flavonoids, which act as antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals. Dark chocolate contains a large number of antioxidants (nearly 8 times the number found in strawberries). Of course this is mostly found in a good quality, high cocoa content chocolate.
Benefits of Dark Chocolate:
Dark chocolate is good for your heart. A small bar of it everyday can Heart Health:
- Healthy Blood Pressure: Studies have shown that consuming a small bar of dark chocolate everyday can reduce blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure.
- Healthy Cholesterol Levels: Dark chocolate has also been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) by up to 10%
Chocolate also contains a neurotransmitter, serotonin, which is the feeling happy hormone. So this is why we love chocoate so much! It also contains other substances, such as theobromine and phenylethylamine, have a stimulating effect. Of course the same effect can be created taking supplements, but with less calories.
Balance Your Calories:
This information doesn't mean that you should eat a excesive amounts of chocolate, it is a high-calorie, high fat food. One bar of dark chocolate has around 400 calories. If you eat half a bar of chocolate a day, you must balance those 200 calories by eating less of something else.
Go for Dark Chocolate:
Dark chocolate has far more antioxidants than milk or white chocolate. These other two chocolates cannot make any health claims. Dark chocolate has 65 percent or higher cocoa content.
Skip the Nougat:
You should look for pure dark chocolate or dark chocolate with nuts, orange peel or other flavorings. Avoid anything with caramel, nougat or other fillings. These fillings are just adding sugar and fat which erase many of the benefits you get from eating the chocolate.
So enjoy your holidays and hopefully you will enjoy your chocolate eggs all the more knowing there is a bit of goodness in them as well.