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Chocolate: ally or villain?

Although cocoa has many flavonoids, particularly epicatechin, substances that make blood vessels more elastic and relaxed, improving blood flow, through their action on nitric oxide, supporting cardiovascular health, according to research from the Harvard School of Public Health. . In addition, with good impact on diabetes, some types of cancer, memory and blood pressure. During the industrial process of cocoa transforming into chocolate, part of the flavonoids is removed, in addition to having an addition of fat and sugar, increasing calories.

Dark chocolate contains 50-90% cocoa solids, the higher the percentage, the greater the number of flavonoids. Dark chocolate contains more flavonoids than milk chocolate, while white chocolate contains neither cocoa nor flavonoids. Unfortunately, manufacturers do not include the flavonoid content on their labels, so it is not possible to know the exact flavonoid content.

On average 20g of dark chocolate (60% cocoa) contains 34mg of flavonoids, 20g of milk chocolate contains 14mg of flavonoids and 20g of white chocolate does not contain flavonoids. In this regard, dark chocolate gives more satiety due to its more striking flavor, making it easier to eat less.

There are some studies talking about theobromine, a plant chemical found in cocoa and tea, having a positive effect on blood pressure, but its amount is insufficient in chocolate for this benefit.

As stated earlier, the chocolate-making process involves sugar and fat, therefore calories. In this way, like many sweets, it promotes the release of insulin, which is the only hormone that stores fat, so when consumed regularly and in large quantities, it causes weight gain and body fat.

Chocolate can be consumed, but in small amounts and not every day. That desire for sweets after meals can be satisfied with fruit, with chocolate or candy being an exceptional food. It is not forbidden, but it must be consumed with balance. Remembering that cocoa is very healthy, but the industrial process reduces flavonoids, and adds fat, sugar, and calories, so we cannot extend research talking about substances from cocoa to chocolate.

There are many more flavonoids in fruits and vegetables than in chocolate. Therefore, it is recommended to eat small portions of chocolate, squares, instead of bars. Chocolate is not prohibited, but it should be an exceptional food, within a healthy and balanced diet.


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