You’ve heard dark chocolate is good for you, that it can cut the risk of a heart attack or stroke. But is that the whole story? Here’s the scoop.
“Raw chocolate (or cacao) contains the highest levels of antioxidants of any food on earth … However, most of the chocolate consumed in western cultures comes in the form of highly processed and refined milk chocolate, which does not have any of the benefits of less-processed dark varieties.” So says a site called Anti-Oxidants-for-Health-and-Longevity.
On the other hand, the You Docs tell us it doesn’t matter which kind of chocolate we eat but that unsweetened cocoa powder has more healthy polyphenols than sweetened chocolate. Also, dark chocolate has more cocoa and less sugar. “Dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa content has the most healthy compounds.”
Dr. Diana Walcutt writes at HealthCentral.com: “If you drink milk with dark chocolate, you negate the effect that the chocolate can have on your body. Research has shown that milk interferes with the absorption of the antioxidants.” Evidently, we can’t count on a hot-chocolate nightcap to provide missing antioxidants.
Other benefits of chocolate, according to the below sources are: cuts risk of diabetes, discourages blood clots, eases blood pressure, has anti-inflammatory properties, may prevent osteoporosis, helps our brains remain focused and alert, and may increase happiness plus help with weight loss.
I remember hungry moments during college days when my roommate and I would dig a spoonful of peanut butter out of the jar then dip it in sweetened cocoa powder. Was a good pick-me-up that wasn’t too hard on our limited budgets. Just now, I tried the concoction again using unsweetened peanut butter with unsweetened cocoa. It was tolerable, but mixing a little Stevia into cocoa powder before rolling the peanut butter in it made the snack much more palatable.
That’s my food experiment for the day! What’s yours? Becky
The You Docs Health Tip of the Day (newspaper column) September 14, 2001