Contributed by- Saumya Shatakshi, Nutritionist
Chocolate – the ultimate guilty pleasure is actually a sweet source of health benefits. Next time you grab a piece of chocolate, do not let the guilt overtake you. Chocolate has been infamously known as a guilty indulgence and not many know about the amazing benefits that it offers. Having chocolate every now and then is actually good for health. The yummy goodness comes in different shapes and sizes and not to forget in different varieties as well. Each kind of chocolate offers a different set of benefits.
What are the different kinds of chocolate? Is chocolate really good for health? Which is the healthiest kind of chocolate? Most of face the same dilemma. Choosing the right kind of chocolate for yourself requires proper knowledge about the kind of chocolates and the health benefits they offer. Let us read to understand our yummy buddies better.
Types Of Chocolates
Chocolate can mainly be divided into four kinds of chocolates to best understand the health benefits. The four kinds of chocolate that we are discussing today include:
- Dark chocolate
- Milk chocolate
- White chocolate
- Unsweetened chocolate
The bitter sweet treat can make everything better. With the highest content of cocoa in it dark chocolate is the healthiest type of chocolate available to us. Dark chocolate is full of incredible health goodness, like:
- It aids in weight loss. Dark chocolate has high level of MUFA (monosaturated fats) which are healthy fats that boosts the metabolic processes and curbs the recurring cravings for salt, sweet and fatty foods.
- Lowers the risk of heart diseases
- Improves blood flow
- Boosts brain functions
- It reduces the insulin resistance of cells and aids in effective management of blood sugar levels
- Acts as a stress buster and helps in fighting pain and depression
- Helps in better skin health and appearance
- A great source of antioxidants
- Dark chocolate contains serotonin which makes it a natural source of anti-depressant
- It also stimulates the production of endorphin, the happy hormone which makes it a mood elevator and an aggravator for feelings of happiness and pleasure
1 piece of dark chocolate of approximately 5 grams contains 28 calories, 1.7 grams of fat. 3 grams of carb and 0.4 grams of protein.
The most widely consumed kind is a favourite among all. The creamy, sweet, tasty treat is really hard to deny. You can have milk chocolates in different varieties, in bars, mixed with nuts, dried fruits, wafer sticks and even in form of energy bars. The health benefits offered by milk chocolates are:
- High content of magnesium helps with better brain functioning
- Milk chocolate has healthy gut bacteria that helps in vanishing tummy trouble with prebiotic fibre. The special fibre feeds gut friendly bacteria allowing them to flourish which aids in the detoxing process
- Contains health promoting chemicals called polyphenols that help protect the body from stress by supplying the bloodstream with antioxidants
- Good for the heart
- The zinc content in chocolate helps boost the immunity level and fight cold
- Chocolate also means better hair and skin
- The high content of calcium in milk chocolate makes it a good choice for healthier bones
A piece of milk chocolate of 5 grams contains 33 calories, 0.3 grams of protein, 2.3 grams of carb and 2.3 grams of fat.
You can always make your own milk chocolate at home with healthy add-ons like nuts, dry fruits. Opt for peanut butter or unsalted butter instead of normal butter while making chocolate. Use of stevia or jaggery instead of sugar is a healthier option. While purchasing from market try buying chocolate bars which have peanuts, dry fruits in them. Granola bars are really healthy versions of chocolate bars.
White chocolate is a small sneak peek in to the heavenly world of pure bliss. The bar of tasty goodness offers several health benefits like:
- White chocolate reduces skin aging
- It helps in lowering the level of high blood pressure
- An ideal choice for caffeine intolerant people
- Reduces the chances of insomnia, sleeping disorders
- Also helps in reduction in heartburn, irritability, headache, rapid heartbeat and muscle aches
- Having white chocolate before going to bed does not hamper your sleep
- Calcium is the most important mineral for human body as each cell including heart, muscles and nervous system require it. A very important factor in building bone health calcium is really important. White chocolate has the higher calcium content as compared to dark chocolate which makes it a preferred choice for good and healthy bones
A piece of white chocolate of 5 grams contains 27 calories, 0.3 grams protein, 3 grams carbs and 1.5 grams fat.
Often known as the guilty pleasure unsweetened form of chocolate is the absolute form of guiltless indulgence. Unsweetened chocolate is used mainly for baking and you can also pour a generous amount over your pancakes, smoothies, yoghurt, fresh fruits or combine it with your choice of nuts and dry fruits. Unsweetened chocolate is high on benefits of cocoa and is deficit of sugar which makes is a good choice for people suffering from weight gain issues and diabetes. Some of the health benefits include:
- Helps in maintaining healthy level of blood pressure
- Protects the arteries from plaque formation
- Boosts mental health and memory
- High antioxidant content makes it really healthy choice
- Is good for heart health
- A great source of mood elevator and boosts happy hormones
A piece of 5 grams of unsweetened chocolate contains 22 cal, 0.3 grams of protein, 0.9 grams of carb, 1.7 grams of fat and 1.7 grams of fibre.
DISCLAIMER: It is important to pay attention that chocolate in any form should be consumed in limited quantity. White chocolate has the highest level of calorie content, hence not a good choice for those trying to lose weight. Chocolate are truly the food of Gods but too much of anything will cause damage. Satisfy your taste buds with the yumminess of chocolate but do not over indulgence.
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