A clear question, but the answer to how chocolate affects the body depends on the type of chocolate. There’s light chocolate and dark, white chocolate and filled chocolate, hot chocolate and vegan chocolate, no sugar chocolate, and even blood chocolate. What really matters, however, is the type and quantity of cocoa it contains, because it contains the essential active ingredients of delicate temptation. And of course the amount of sugar and fat in the ingredients determines whether chocolate is good for your health or whether the negative properties outweigh the rest.Is Chocolate Healthy? – Article overview:
- Kind-hearted comforter
- Organic and vegan chocolate
- Fairy tale blood chocolate
A kind heart comforter
Chocolate has two ingredients in common with hashish and morphine: anandamide and phenylethylamine. These basically have a positive effect on the happiness and pleasure centers in the brain and contribute to chocolate’s mood-enhancing effect. However, there is no risk of addiction because the amount of these substances in chocolate is so small that 20 kilograms of milk chocolate would have to be consumed to achieve an intoxicating effect.
On closer scientific examination, the myth of chocolate that makes you happy gets scratches because the amount of phenylethylamine in cocoa is relatively small. It has little effect on happiness hormones such as serotonin. The substance is suspected of being a trigger for migraine attacks.
The fact is, however, that sweet and fatty foods (which clearly include classic milk chocolate) activate our reward system when consumed. This is because the neurotransmitter dopamine is released, and the body also releases endorphins, the body’s own opiates, which also contribute to a good mood.
Other positive effects on health are attributed to the polyphenols contained – they are said to be responsible for the blood pressure-lowering and vasodilating effects of chocolate. In any case, current studies show that an amount of six grams a day is sufficient to reduce the risk of a heart attack by up to 40 percent. The cocoa flavonoids are responsible for this – these secondary plant substances expand the blood vessels, which in turn reduces blood pressure. So, of all things, secondary plant substances, which were originally not considered to have any significance for the nutritional value of a plant, seem to be responsible for the positive effects of cocoa on the human body.
The cholesterol-lowering effect of cocoa is also clearly documented – just about 30 grams of cocoa powder or two bars of black chocolate (at least 70% cocoa content) per day lower LDL cholesterol by 5 percent after about 2-4 weeks.
As early as 2010, nutritionists were able to demonstrate in a long-term study with 19,357 people between the ages of 35 and 65 that, when consumed in moderation, dark chocolate in particular – most flavanols are found in dark chocolate, because it contains at least 60 percent cocoa mass – lowers blood pressure. The risk of myocardial infarction and stroke could also be significantly reduced through consumption.
Nevertheless, expectations that are too euphoric are inappropriate because not all chocolate is created equal! In terms of health, a distinction must be made between milk and dark chocolate. The positive effects remain unique to dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, less fat, and low sugar limited. Only the dark chocolate without milk additives and high cocoa content has the above-described positive effect on the organism.
Classic milk chocolate and especially white “chocolate” (it only contains cocoa butter, but not cocoa) are usually much too sweet and fat for the positive aspects to matter.
The fact is that 100 grams of milk chocolate have around 500 calories and 30 grams of fat, around 60 percent of which are saturated fatty acids. The German Heart Foundation states soberly: “One bar in addition to the normal diet, and you will weigh one kilogram more after two weeks.”
New trend: organic and vegan chocolate
Nevertheless, the demand in this area remains high. Despite an almost infinite variety of varieties and a huge selection of cocoa-containing products, vife manufacturers are inventing ever more unusual chocolates to keep consumers happy.
Not all developments arise solely from commercial interests; some attempts actually serve to broaden the culinary horizon. Experienced chocolate makers and established chocolate connoisseurs have been swearing by raw chocolate for some time – that is, chocolate made from unfermented cocoa beans.
Fermentation and roasting actually destroy some flavors and healthy polyphenols, which is why chocolate makers with high-quality standards are increasingly turning to fermenting and roasting chocolate only very lightly. Another trend is undoubtedly organically grown chocolate and – in its most consistent form – chocolate made from wild cocoa. This cocoa is – even if it comes from fair trade – the most sustainable form of production and should flatter the consumer’s palate and soothe his or her bad conscience.
Vegan chocolate – that is, chocolate without animal ingredients – is also on the rise. After all, vegans also want to snack and enjoy. Whole milk chocolate made from cow’s milk can be recognized as non-vegan at first glance, but there is already a large selection of vegan milk chocolates, mostly based on rice milk. Dark chocolate or cooking chocolate is almost without exception vegan. These are also available in every supermarket and candy store.
Blood in the chocolate
Even if it was often used as an argument against the free movement of goods in the EU in the 1990s, the claim that chocolate contains blood is a pure old wives’ tale. However, it is not entirely clear where the fairy tale comes from. Allegedly, there is said to have been a research project in the former GDR in which work was carried out to give the chocolate a darker color by adding dried blood, but this rumor has never been proven.
The Austrian chocolate pioneer Josef Zotter, who is considered by experts to be great in his field, does not even shy away from blood chocolate production. Not for culinary reasons, of course, but to make an example, as he frankly admits in an interview with the daily newspaper DER STANDARD: “The idea goes back to the former Governor of Carinthia Haider, who claimed that Austria’s accession to the EU would lead to that we would soon have chocolate, some of which is made from blood. At the time, many people were concerned and asked me if I would hopefully never do such an abomination anyway. “
At some point, it was just enough for the passionate chocolate producer and “… I made this chocolate – mixed with fresh pig blood. It is also intended to remind people that in the countries of origin such as Ecuador and Mexico, chocolate has also been used as a condiment for centuries to prepare sauces for meat dishes.
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