Chocolate is appreciated for a variety of reasons. Many of these reasons relate to the feel good chemicals contained in chocolate, such as tryptophan, tyrosine, theobromine and caffeine. However, the preferred chocolate is the dark type which has the highest concentration of cocoa, is high in antioxidants and is low in fat.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of eating a few pieces of chocolate:
Eating a small bar of chocolate as well as sticking to a healthy diet has the potential to boost the mood. It is a combination of the chocolate’s texture, smell and taste that helps to stimulate the brain and leave you feeling good. Additionally, chocolate is rich in the essential amino acid tryptophan, which can help to increase the amount of serotonin in the system. This is a natural type of anti-depressant.
Chocolate can help with heart health because it has an anti-inflammatory effect, thins the blood to minimize the risk of suffering a stroke and can lower blood pressure. The main reason to benefit the heart is because of the flavonoid content. This chemical is useful in encouraging the production of nitric oxide, which relaxes and widens the blood vessels
A further benefit of the flavonoid content is the ability to stop the oxidizing of bad cholesterol (LDL). Over time this can lead to a build up of deposits on the artery wall, which is often referred to as occlusive disease. Also, the flavonoid content can include stearic acid, which is a unique type of saturated fat that can promote good cholesterol (HDL).
The theobromine content in chocolate can have an influence on the vagus nerve and help to suppress the episodes of coughing. The vagus nerve has the role of transmitting messages between the brain and the central nervous system.
A further type of chemical compound found in chocolate is epicatechin, which is useful for its ability to protect the brain from the build up of amyloid plaques or sticky proteins. If they are left to develop over time there is the risk of Alzheimer’s disease developing. Additionally, this same chemical compound can be found in green tea.
Overall, in order to benefit from the chocolate eaten, you want to look for the dark chocolate that has a high concentration of cocoa. Ideally, you want chocolate with 70 percent cocoa to achieve the most benefit. Also, the high cocoa means there is more flavonoid content to benefit the all-round health.