Is chocolate good for you? It is true, chocolate has potential health benefits. It contains flavonoids and magnesium which have potential blood pressure lowering effects. Flavonoids are mostly found in plants and in humans have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants in simple terms run around your body finding "chipped" cells and fix them which decrease your risk of heart disease, cancer, etc, etc.
Now not all chocolate is created equal. Dark chocolate gets such a better reputation with the health conscious because it contains twice the amount of flavonoids as milk chocolate. Also, the extra milk in milk chocolate decreases the absorption of the flavonoids. If you are eating chocolate for the most health benefit, choose at least 70% dark chocolate and make sure it contains only one type of fat - cocoa butter. Often palm oil, coconut oil, and milk fat may be added but are not as neutral for your cholesterol as cocoa butter.
HOWEVER, even with the most optimal chocolate, remember portion is everything. Chocolate is high in fat, cholesterol, sugar, and calories. It can easily lead to weight gain. A one ounce portion will cost around 150 calories of your total daily calories. And remember, chocolate can be a migraine trigger for many people who suffer from migraines. It can also be an IBS trigger. If you experience discomfort after consuming chocolate, you may need to avoid it all together. So PLAN, PORTION, and ENJOY!
Happy Valentines Day!
Nutrition from the dietitian
Blog of Abrea Nutrition.