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Chocolate the Good and the Bad

Posted Jun 20 2012 12:00am

Many people list chocolate among their favorite foods, right along side other popular dishes like pizza, sandwiches, and French fries. Whether you prefer the creamy taste of milk chocolate or the slightly bitter bite of dark chocolate, questions often arise regarding chocolate's health benefits. Is chocolate bad for you? Are there health benefits to chocolate beyond the sweet taste? Isn’t chocolate high in fat? There are all common questions asked about chocolate so lets break them down and show you the good and the bad to that yummy treat.



cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo is shared by el patojo


Antioxidants


Chocolate contains lots of antioxidants. In fact, one ounce of chocolate contains the same amount of antioxidants as a cup of brewed tea. Antioxidants are molecules that prevent the oxidation of other molecules. When the process of oxidation occurs, free radicals are produced. These free radicals start a chain reaction that can damage or destroy the cell, leading to disease.


What about the fat in chocolate?


Its true, chocolate contains saturated fat. Saturated fat is often linked to high cholesterol and other health problems. The good news here is that because chocolate is a plant product, it is cholesterol free. The bad news is that chocolate is often found in products like candy bars that do contain cholesterol raising fats. Chocolate is also very caloric, containing a large number of calories in a small package.



cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo is shared by las - initially


Mood


Chocolate is considered a mood enhancer. When you eat chocolate, the levels of serotonin in the brain increase, leading to an elevated mood. The bad news here is that the effect is somewhat negated by the caffeine also found in chocolate.


Skin


The old myth that chocolate leads to acne is finally debunked. Instead, chocolate actually helps to smooth the skin by protecting it from UV rays, increasing blood flow, and giving skin a healthier appearance.


But eater beware, not all chocolate is created equal. Despite the numerous benefits of chocolate, too much of a good thing is bad. Eating large, processed candy bars will negate any of the healthy benefits of chocolate and elevate the bad properties of chocolate, namely its high calorie count. You should also avoid white chocolate. Despite its name, white chocolate contains no chocolate at all and thus none of the benefits that chocolate has. So steer clear of candy bars, white chocolate, and powdered hot chocolate mix which looses lots of nutritional value during processing and stick to dark chocolate and healthy recipes that utilize raw cocoa powder so you can harness the benefits of chocolate while avoiding the unhealthy features.


This article was written by ezCater.com the leader in reviews, menus, and ordering for Boston caterers and thousands of other cities around the US.

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