May 27, 2011 Posted Under: Nutrition

Why Chocolate Is Good For Us

If there’s one thing all women seem to love, it’s chocolate. Unfortunately, if it’s one thing most diets seem to prevent us from eating, it’s chocolate, but why? Chocolate, more specifically dark chocolate is good for you. So diets that prevent us from eating chocolate in moderation are actually making us more prone to cheat, and are limiting us from food sources that have been shown to be good for our health.

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Chocolate is derived from the cacao plant, which naturally grow in areas 20 degrees above and below the equator. Most of the world’s chocolate comes from West Africa, the most along the Ivory Coast. Chocolate is typically classified into three different types, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate, all of which are made from cacao butter, but have varying degrees of cacao solids (white chocolate in fact has no cacao solid, which is why it maintains a white appearance).

Because dark chocolate has the highest concentration of cacao solids, and is considered to be the lease processed version of chocolate, it is considered to be the healthiest form of chocolate available. Dark chocolate is good for us in moderation, as it has the most antioxidants, and has been linked to reducing the possibility of having a heart attack when consumed regularly in small quantities. This might have something to do with the fact that chocolate has also been shown to make those who eat it happier. This is due to the presence of alkaloids or nitrogen rich compounds that have been linked to the production of serotonin. Serotonin is one of the neurotransmitters in our bodies that allow us to feel good. Serotonin also readily interacts with our blood, where it has been shown to work as a vasoconstrictor and helps regulate blood flow and blood clotting.

Many individuals don’t like dark chocolate stating that it has a “bitter” taste. The truth is that dark chocolate has such an intense flavor that our taste buds quantify it as being bitter if we take too big of a bite. However, this intense flavor is why dark chocolate is preferred when cooking, as it yields the best chocolate flavor. Try letting the chocolate slowly melt in your mouth the next time you take a bite. Not only will this increase your heart rate and brain activity more than a passionate kiss, it will last four times longer.

In the end, chocolate is good for us and we should enjoy it in small quantities, especially dark chocolate. Not only will you receive the benefit of increased serotonin levels, but you’ll get anti-oxidants, improve your cognitive abilities, and reduce your chances of having cardiovascular disease.

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