It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t like chocolate. Yes, there are probably some, but chances are they’re flapping around at the bottom of an empty pool. Chocolate lovers, nonetheless, are generally broken down into two distinct chocolate camps—milk and dark—with either side usually sneering at the perceived gastronomic shortcomings of the other. And yes, milk and dark chocolate have two largely different tastes. But they are still chocolates. Better yet, both offer up a surprising number of benefits, although no one is claiming they are the epidemy of healthy foods. WellWell is here to outline the benefits of both. So, tear open a bar of your favorite and read on.
The Milk Chocolate Ledger
Yes, milk chocolate has a large amount of fat and sugar, but it also contains lots of beneficial nutrients. Obviously, there is calcium from the milk. There are also small amounts of iron, potassium, zinc, Vitamin A and Vitamin K.
University of Aberdeen researchers claim that eating 100 grams of milk chocolate daily (which is a lot) reduces the risk of heart disease by 25 percent while cutting the risk of stroke by 23 percent.
Yes, this seems counterintuitive, but some research indicates that eating milk chocolate in the morning may actually burn fat and lower blood glucose levels. It may also cut down on the desire for more chocolate or other sweets later in the day. Oh yeah, Spanish researchers report a chocolate bar at night may also improve sleep, increase exercise metabolism and reduce calorie intake the next day.
A recent presentation at the American Chemical Society’s conference claims that the nutritional value of milk chocolate can be significantly enhanced without sacrificing flavor. This beefed-up milk chocolate could be made by recycling food scraps, such as coffee grounds, discarded tea leaves, and peanut skins.
The Dark Chocolate Ledger
Eating dark chocolate for five straight days seems to improve blood flow to the brain. Thanks to stimulants like caffeine and theobromine, regular consumption of dark cocoa can even improve cognitive function and verbal fluency in older adults with minor impairments.
The flavonoids in dark chocolate are believed to have a beneficial impact on blood platelets, with one study claiming that moderate consumers were less likely to suffer from blood clots than those who skipped chocolate entirely. These anti-clotting effects may be why chocolate also has a positive impact on cardiovascular health.
Carrots have nothing on dark chocolate when it comes to vision support. Researchers report that individuals who munched down on dark chocolate that contained at least 720 mg of cocoa flavanols daily improved their vision. They were better able to detect motion and read low contrast letters, which is probably due to chocolate’s support of blood flow to the retina and brain.
Dark chocolate’s inherent components, such as polyphenols and theobromine, can do a person’s cholesterol levels a world of good by lowering levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and increasing the amount of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is often referred to as “bad cholesterol,” while HDL cholesterol is “good cholesterol.”
Beyond taste, what’s your reason for chowing down on chocolate, milk or dark? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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