Perhaps you already know, chocolate is made from cocoa beans that grow on cacao trees! This tree that is Central American in origin is now widely cultivated across the world!
Chocolates can be of three types – Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, and White Chocolate! Dark chocolate contains 60% or more cocoa and has no milk. Milk chocolate, however, contains only 5 to 10% cocoa, while the white chocolate does not contain any cocoa at all—just cocoa butter & milk.
Among the 3 varieties, dark chocolate is often recognised as a healthier option!
Sure, dark chocolate has many health benefits, but does that mean one can gorge on dark chocolates? If not, how much of it is too much!?
Dark chocolate is rich in anti-oxidant (polyphenols) which is the main reason for it to be touted as a healthier snack. Anti-oxidants are molecules that eliminate free radicals from the body.
These free radicals are formed in our body due to exposure to pollution, cigarette smoke, ultraviolet radiation from the sun, pesticides in vegetables & even when our body converts food into energy. These free radicals can cause aging and sometimes even cancer! The anti-oxidant molecules in dark chocolate can bind with the free radicals and prevent them from damaging the body (Refer Free-radical theory of aging)
However, milk can bind with the antioxidants in the dark chocolate thereby reducing its ability to neutralise the free radicals. Hence milk chocolate, or even having milk with dark chocolate entirely reduces its anti-oxidant ability
Dark chocolate is also high in many minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium etc. It can also elevate your mood and improve cognitive ability – albeit briefly.
Now coming to how much is too much – remember, even elixir if taken more than required, can be bad for your health! (അധികം ആയാൽ അമൃതും വിഷം ) There are no superfoods and even the supposed healthy food if over-eaten is bad for your body. The dark chocolate is often packaged with truckloads of sugar and sometimes fat! The sugar and fat content can vary depending on the brand – hence, always read the calorie slip.
Dark chocolate has higher caffeine content ( https://nuvovivo.com/blog/caffeine-helpful-or-harmful/ ) than both milk chocolate & white chocolate. While caffeine can improve your alertness and can improve cognition skills, too much of caffeine can increase heart rate and induce anxiety.
Remember – you can ofcourse have a bite or two of dark chocolate,…but, moderation is the key!