Sabtu, 26 Maret 2011
All About Chocolate - What You Need to Know
The answer to this question really depends on which side you are on. Those who are anti-chocolate point to this delicious treat as the culprit behind migraines, acne and obesity. Those who are pro-chocolate point to the new studies that hail chocolate's benefits in the prevention of heart disease and cancer. And it seems that the link between chocolate and health tend to favor the latter view.
Dark chocolate or cocoa contains vitamins, minerals and nutrients that our body needs to function efficiently. Protein, fat, Vitamin E, calcium, iron, caffeine and copper are the main contents of chocolates. While the amount depends on the servings eaten, these nutrients aid in cell maintenance and repair, keeps bones and teeth strong, aids in the formation of hemoglobin, forms melanin for healthy hair and skin and assists in the optimum functioning of the nervous system. It also has antioxidants that help fight free radicals that cause degenerative diseases.
Recent studies have debunked previous theories linking chocolates to migraine attacks. While these headaches are said to be triggered by foods such as chocolate, recent studies have shown that on its own, this favorite comfort food is not enough to start an attack. Stress and hormones need to be present as well for the arterial spasm to take place. Chocolate isn't exactly out of the woods yet as more studies are needed to rule it out of the equation, but at least, it's not the main triggerman for these painful headaches.
The link to chocolate and health has also been strengthened when studies have shown that the widely-held belief that chocolates cause acne and pimples is actually unfounded. Scientific research has so far shown that there is nothing in chocolate that can cause new zits to form or make existing ones bigger.
Perhaps one of the most widely contested issues where chocolate and health is concerned is in the area of weight gain. Admittedly, chocolate is an energy-dense food and when eaten in excess, it does cause weight gain. However, take note that it is overeating in particular that can cause those bulges and fats to form. When you are on a particularly healthy and well-balanced diet, you can eat get these delicious treats in moderation without fear that it can add a few pounds to your figure. Moreover, chocolate has not been shown to cause an increase in blood cholesterol levels inasmuch as the saturated fat in chocolate is stearic acid.
The link between chocolate and health is further boosted by the presence of antioxidants known as catechins in dark chocolate. This prevents cancer since it prevents the oxidation of blood cholesterol that lead to free radicals-- the culprit behind cancer-formation. More studies still need to be done to confirm that catechins lead to heart health. To be on the safe side, you can also boost your intake of catechins by drinking cocoa instead of eating chocolate since the first one is lower in fat compared to the latter.
So is chocolate good for you? Yes, when taken in moderation and in combination with a well-balanced diet and regular exercise.