The Truth about Chocolate
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If you ever crave chocolate, you’re not alone—millions of people around the world admit to being “–“chocolate addicts.” But have you wondered if this addiction is damaging to your health? Let’s separate the myths from the facts concerning this popular food.
Eating chocolate makes you happier
It’s not your imagination. Chocolate contains over three hundred known chemicals, which stimulate areas of the brain that enable us to feel pleasure. Chocolate contains small amounts of theobromine, which help to enhance your mood, and caffeine, which gives you more energy and is also found in coffee and tea.
Chocolate makes you fat
Chocolate is commonly regarded as a fattening food that contains no nutritional value. In fact, cocoa beans are full of antioxidants that are beneficial to health. However, they undergo a lot of processing to remove their distinctive bitterness, which also removes a large portion of the antioxidants. Most store-bought chocolates have high sugar and fat content, and only small amounts of cocoa. Eating these and other high-calorie chocolate desserts, like cakes and cookies, can indeed cause you to gain weight.
Chocolate is good for your heart
There have been studies in recent years linking chocolate to a healthy heart. Cocoa contains chemicals called flavanols which fight heart disease by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. But you’ll have to consume dark chocolate with a high proportion of cocoa if you want to see the benefits, or just eat more fruits and vegetables, which contain flavanols as well and in higher amounts. “If you want to reduce your heart disease risk, there are much better places to start than at the bottom of a box of chocolates,” says Victoria Taylor from the British Heart Foundation.
Chocolate gives you pimples
Despite what you might have heard from your mother or grandmother, there is absolutely no evidence that chocolate gives you pimples or acne. It’s not chocolate that causes problems, but the highly-processed nature of the products containing chocolate, and their high levels of sugar and fat. While it’s great that chocolate isn’t to blame, bad skin could still indicate a bad diet.
Chocolate causes tooth decay
This is another myth that just won’t go away. It’s not chocolate itself that causes tooth decay, but the sugar in chocolate products—and bad teeth-brushing habits! In fact, it is believed that cocoa butter forms a coating over our teeth, and this might actually protect rather than hurt them.
As with most things, chocolate only becomes a danger when you overdo it. It’s important to remember that Most of the health benefits of chocolate come from cocoa, which is why dark chocolate is the healthiest option. So choose your chocolate wisely, eat it in moderation, and you’ll get the best of both worlds—happiness AND health.