There are those who do not know the benefits of chocolate , which is why it is a food both loved and feared at the same time. But according to science, this sweet can be good for health, as long as it is consumed in moderation and in the correct way.
The benefits of chocolate increase with the amount of cocoa used in the composition . Therefore, the number and variety of dark chocolates on sale increases every day, as they have more cocoa and less fat.
Without further ado, find out below all the main information about the benefits and harms of chocolate. That way, we are sure that you will start to see chocolate with new eyes… Or rather, with a different taste! Check out!
What are the benefits of chocolate?
Dark and semisweet chocolates have health benefits proven by science, such as fighting free radicals , inflammation and bad cholesterol. Check out these and other candy effects in more detail below!
Fight free radicals
Scientific studies and laboratory analyzes show that dark chocolates are antioxidants ( 1 , 2 ). Thus, chocolates are able to reduce or inhibit the action of free radicals, malignant substances that impede the healthy life cycle of cells and can increase the risk of various diseases.
Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Disease, diabetes, hypertension, and various other degenerative and autoimmune diseases may be at lower risk after constant consumption of antioxidant foods.
Dark chocolate is also anti-inflammatory , according to a study carried out in Italy ( 1 ). Research shows that the composition of “dark chocolate” (dark chocolates, with less milk and more cocoa), is rich in polyphenols and substances that fight inflammation.
Everyone has heard that eating chocolate makes us happy . What happens, in fact, is that this food (anything, as long as it is from the dark) are able to improve mood ( 3 ).
Stimulates mind and body
Laboratory analyzes on pure and semisweet chocolate show that they are stimulants, as they contain a certain degree of caffeine and theobromine ( 2 ). These substances come from cocoa.
Thus, the consumption of healthy chocolates can help train and study better, in addition to being ideal on days of bad mood or indisposition.
Reduces bad cholesterol
Few people know, but dark chocolates can also be used to help treat bad cholesterol , known as LDL ( 2 ). This is due to its composition rich in polyphenols . But remember, use it very sparingly, otherwise the effect is the opposite.
protect the heart
The same set of healthy substances that make dark chocolate lower cholesterol also makes the blood flow better in veins and arteries ( 2 , 4 ). In addition, this benefit is great for lowering the risk of heart disease, thus protecting the heart .
It’s good in old age
Thanks to its benefits for the heart and its stimulating effect, dark chocolate is highly recommended for the elderly ( 1 ). In addition, the study shows that dark dark chocolate is great for neurovascular capacity, which protects the brain against diseases common in the elderly.
What are the harms?
Despite the benefits, there are also drawbacks to chocolates. Remember that these are harms caused by milk chocolate or dark chocolates when consumed in excess. Check out:
Milk chocolate is made with cocoa mass and butter, therefore, it brings with it a little more calories than recommended for weight-loss diets ( 2 , 5 ). However, the more cocoa there is in the chocolate, the less it gets fatter. Opt for bitters , preferably those above 70% cocoa.
Can stimulate skin oils
It is common to hear people saying that “eating chocolate gives you pimples” and that is a half-truth. What happens is that common chocolate has fats from milk, cocoa butter and sugars.
All of this stimulates sebum production, which can cause clogging of pores and the inflammation known as pimples. The study also links the exaggerated consumption of chocolate with acne observed in men and women ( 6 ).
How to make healthy homemade chocolate?
Have you ever thought about making your own healthy homemade chocolate? Well, if you are interested in this, we will show you the best recipe for homemade chocolate! Check out:
- In a pan, add ½ kg of cocoa powder and 1 kg of brown sugar or demerara . Mix well
- Then add 1 liter of whole milk and bring to medium heat. Stir without stopping until it becomes smooth and the chocolate starts to come off the bottom of the pan. After that, turn off the fire
- Keep stirring for the next 3 to 5 minutes
- Then take the mixture to a buttered baking dish and wait for it to cool.
- Finally, when the chocolate has hardened, cut into tablets and store in a closed jar in the refrigerator. Consume within 2 weeks.
You can also use skim milk instead of whole milk. However, do not use white or icing sugar in this recipe, as these are refined sugars that are not good for your health.
How to make homemade chocolate powder?
To be able to make a good homemade chocolate powder, you must follow procedures 1 and 2, mentioned in the previous topic. After turning off the heat, continue stirring until completely cool. This will make it grainy in texture.
Finally, pass this sprinkles through a fine sieve or use a food processor to turn the chocolate into powder.
What is chocolate?
In the basic and classic recipe, chocolate is the result of the combination of cocoa, milk and sugar. Thus, it can be found in different shapes and textures: bar, chocolates, truffles, syrup and fillings.
According to the Ministry of Tourism of Brazil, a survey by Ibope indicated that 75% of Brazilians consume chocolate in the country. Of this percentage, 61% of consumers buy chocolate for the taste, satisfaction and pleasure it provides. Thus, the remaining 14% consume chocolate for health benefits or other reasons.
One of the biggest drawbacks of chocolate consumption is that it is associated with weight gain, pimples and various harms. Indeed, milk chocolate is rich in fats and sugar, bringing these harms when consumed in excess. But on the other hand, dark chocolates can be quite healthy.
What is the healthiest type of chocolate?
It’s quite simple to find out which is the healthiest chocolate. To do this, just observe the cocoa content and read the product’s composition on the label.
The fewer ingredients, the healthier the chocolate. So, see which are the healthiest chocolates and other types of this same product:
- Dark chocolates (from 51% to 100% cocoa): are the healthiest, with 100% cocoa being the healthiest type of chocolate. It is rich in antioxidants and they are the ones with the least sugar, as they only have the natural sugar of cocoa. Its flavor is very strong and striking
- Dark chocolates (from 35% to 50% cocoa): has less sugar than traditional chocolate. It’s a perfect option for those who don’t like the bitter taste of healthier options, but don’t want to consume regular chocolate. As the name implies, it has a slightly bitter and sweet taste
- Milk Chocolate (from 10% to 25% cocoa): Includes solid cocoa, cocoa butter and over 12% milk and sugar. The milk used is powdered milk, so it is the sweetest chocolate. On the other hand, it is the least healthy of the dark chocolates.
- White chocolate: has milk, sugar and cocoa butter (or hydrogenated vegetable fat, the worst of which is organic). Thus, it has no benefits and should be consumed in great moderation
- Diet chocolates: they are called that because they don’t have added sugar, but they still contain the natural sugar of cocoa and usually have a large amount of fats that are harmful
- Carob: is a natural ingredient (roasted and ground beans) that replaces cocoa. With it, consumption by lactose and gluten intolerant people is possible. Its taste is similar to the taste of dark chocolates.
The information for this list was taken from the website of the Department of Health of the State of Goiás ( 5 ).
Tips for buying a healthy chocolate
When buying chocolate, some precautions are important to ensure that you are buying a quality product and the healthiest possible. See the tips we have separated for you to acquire the best chocolate:
- Cocoa content: we’ve already talked and we’ll repeat it: the more cocoa the better for health
- Amount of Sugar: Look for the sugar-free or sugar-sweetened versions. You can find this information on the label.
- Type of fat: never buy if there is hydrogenated fat in the composition, as it is a fat that is harmful and cancels out the benefits of chocolate
- Check expiration date
- Package in good condition: do not buy if there are holes, tears or signs that the package has been opened
- Look at the label: if there is no expiration date and list of ingredients, for example, don’t buy.
What is the recommended daily amount of chocolate?
Last but not least, a very common question for chocoholics: how much chocolate can we eat per day?
In fact, chocolate is not a food that should be consumed every day. Health institutions, such as the Brazilian Ministry of Health, point out that chocolate should be consumed once or twice a week , in small quantities and must be of the bitter type ( 7 ).
There are many harms for those who consume a lot of chocolate every day. In addition to containing sugar, as cocoa itself has fructose, too much chocolate can cause obesity and malaise.