The most chocolatiers, who are a whole species of human beings, have a date marked in red on the calendar: September 13, the International Chocolate Day.
And why is today chocolate day?
So let’s go by parts. This festivity was born in 1995 in France as a tribute to the British writer and screenwriter Roald Dahlknown for his play ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, which has also been adapted for the big screen.
In addition, it was also a September 13 when he was born Milton S. Hershey (1857), founder of one of the largest chocolate manufacturing companies in the United States and the world.
Is chocolate healthy?
Despite what most people may think, chocolate has innumerable benefits for our health, and has become so important that today it is present in most diets in the world.
And although it is true that chocolate is a very high-calorie food (100 grams of dark chocolate with 99% cocoa contains 520 calories), it is no less true that it provides important benefits:
Increases antioxidant activity
Lowers systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
As explained Dr. Francisco J. Sánchez-Muñizof the Department of Nutrition and Bromatology of the Complutense University of Madrid, in a study published in the journal Hospital Nutrition:
“Since ancient times, healthy properties have been attributed to chocolate that have brought it closer to therapeutic than food use.”
“And although there is no consensus on the optimal amount to consume, it can be suggested that daily consumption of chocolate rich in cocoa (and polyphenols) is a good choice to reduce, at least partially, cardiovascular risk.”
Cocoa has a great antioxidant capacity that allows us to protect our tissues from oxidative stress. And that is why its antioxidant power plays a fundamental role in reducing oxidative damage to cells.
Therefore, the research indicates that:
After daily consumption of milk chocolate containing 168 mg of flavanols, oxidative stress markers change favorably and achieve:
A 12% decrease in serum levels of malondialdehyde (lipid peroxidation marker), important because high levels are associated with complications in the form of acute pancreatitis
An 11% reduction in lactate dehydrogenase activity, which when elevated can indicate that certain body tissues have been damaged by disease or injury.
Helps to lose weight
A study by the University of Murcia, led by the teacher marta garaulet and the Physician Frank A. J. L. Scheerof the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (United States), suggests that chocolate also has effects on the metabolism depending on the time at which it is taken.
And as the main author of the research highlights:
“The time of eating is a synchronizer of internal clocks associated with obesity, so the initial hypothesis was that, depending on the time of ingestion, chocolate would have a different effect on appetite and other factors related to weight. bodily”.
After analyzing a group of postmenopausal women for 14 days (alternating the consumption of chocolate in the morning or at night), a conclusion has been reached:
If taken during the first hours of the day, it reduces blood glucose by 4.5% and abdominal circumference by 2%.
And as another of the researchers points out, Teresa Hernandez-Gonzalez:
“All these effects of drinking chocolate in the morning translate into a reduction in the waistline, something that draws attention, especially considering the high consumption of kilocalories that 100 grams of chocolate a day represent.”
Chocolate is a food that provides phosphorus, magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, E, zinc or manganese.
For example, consuming 100 grams of dark chocolate (the one that is recommended to consume, with a percentage of cocoa greater than 70%) covers a very important part of the daily amount of necessary minerals:
Another investigation, published in The Journal of Nutrition, emphasizes that its daily consumption helps reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) and that we all know as bad cholesterol.
Its intake is also associated with:
“A significant reduction in systolic blood pressure. Importantly, these benefits were seen without an adverse effect on body weight,” the researchers stress.
However, the results of this study indicate that:
Regular consumption of a serving of chocolate as part of a low-fat diet can significantly lower blood cholesterol levels.”
Theobromine is a very unknown compound, very similar to theophylline and caffeine, and it is present in chocolate.
It is an alternative to traditional caffeine or theine, with a less harmful stimulating effect and, what is more important, with a longer action than if coffee or tea is consumed.
But the biggest difference is that it does not produce any type of addiction, as it can happen with caffeine. Which makes it a healthier option and with the same effects.
However, for chocolate to provide us with all the benefits, we have to opt for one that has a percentage of cocoa greater than 70%. And although it may be a bit bitter, we can ‘educate’ our palate by gradually increasing the amount of cocoa it contains.
But that does not prevent us from treating ourselves and enjoying milk or white chocolate from time to time. Of course, always in moderation, since these alternatives contain a greater amount of free sugars, that is, added during processing.