This Valentine’s Day, you may have received a box of chocolates and indulged in some sweets. But is chocolate really as healthy as it’s made out to be? While certain types of chocolate can provide health benefits, it’s important to understand what you’re consuming.
One aspect of chocolate that might be beneficial to your health is that it comes from a plant, the cacao tree. Like fruits and vegetables, chocolate contains phytochemicals, which are compounds derived from plants and have health benefits.
Chocolate contains antioxidant flavonoids, which have various effects on the body’s physiological systems. These flavonoids are also found in a wide variety of other foods and beverages, including fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, and wine. Some benefits associated with these flavonoids include improved blood clotting and reduced inflammation, which can lower the risk of heart attack and stroke, regulate insulin levels, and reduce stress.
Cocoa is one of the main components of the chocolate we consume and it contains the flavonoids that provide these health benefits. Dark chocolate, which contains more cocoa than milk chocolate, is richer in these beneficial compounds compared to milk chocolate. However, it’s important to note that dark chocolate doesn’t always contain less sugar than milk chocolate. Additionally