Useful Tips

How dark chocolate is good for your health


Today, chocolate manufacturers offer various varieties of this delicacy: bitter, white, porous, with raisins, nuts and other toppings. All this diversity attracts a huge number of people.

Both adults and children consume chocolate thoughtlessly until they are full. Rational consumption of chocolate will help us to be healthy.

About, how to eat chocolate, says expert MED-info, dietitian, therapist, certified specialist in working with eating behavior, deputy chief physician of the Weight Factor clinic Marina Studenikina.

If we exclude various variations with additives, then this delicacy has not so many varieties, and we all know them - black, milk and white chocolate. They differ in composition. Dark chocolate consists of grated cocoa, powdered sugar and cocoa butter. Powdered milk is also added to milk. White chocolate contains cocoa butter, powdered sugar, milk powder and vanilla, and due to the lack of grated cocoa, this chocolate has a creamy tint.

There is also diabetic chocolate, in which sweeteners, such as sorbitol or xylitol, are used instead of sugar. But the most useful is still dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa due to theobormine, which is found in cocoa beans. This substance expands the small bronchi and facilitates breathing. Therefore, it is recommended to include a cocoa drink in the diet of patients with bronchopulmonary diseases as an adjuvant in case of difficulty in breathing. But it also has a mild stimulating effect on the cardiovascular system, which reduces the risk of stroke by 17% (when using 63 g per week).

The most useful is dark chocolate. with a high percentage of cocoa due to theobormine, which is found in cocoa beans. This substance expands the small bronchi and facilitates breathing.
This positive effect is also achieved thanks to flavonoids, which are able to protect against cardiovascular diseases, having antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and blood thinning effects. In addition, flavonoids are able to reduce the concentration of bad cholesterol in the blood and lower blood pressure. Swiss cardiologists they call dark chocolate with a cocoa content of more than 70% “sweet aspirin”, since the bioactive compounds in such chocolate reduce platelet adhesion.

Chocolate contains flavonoidsthat protect against cardiovascular diseases with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and blood thinning effects.Due to these positive properties of chocolate, I allow my patients to eat it during the diet, but only black chocolate (1-2 squares) for breakfast or lunch. The main rule is to savor. That is, bite off a small piece, chew it for a long time and do not drink it with water. This method helps contact tongue receptors with chocolate molecules for longer, thereby increasing the number of produced hormones of pleasure with a minimal amount of calories consumed.

Cocoa beans are also a source of magnesium, and magnesium prevents the development of atherosclerosis, improves the functioning of the heart muscle.

Flavonoids are able to reduce the concentration of "bad" cholesterol in the blood and lower blood pressure.

Chocolate is also useful for children, but we must remember that this is an allergenic product, so you should try it with caution.

Toddlers under 3 years old chocolate is not recommended at all: the baby’s digestive system is not ready for such a load.

1. Helps with depression

Chocolate contains various substances that affect mood:

  • Theobromine. It energizes and helps lower blood pressure. However, a surge of energy can be followed by fatigue, so some call chocolate a dangerous addictive substance.
  • Anandamide. In structure, it is similar to tetrahydrocannabinol contained in hemp, but acts softer. It improves mood and invigorates without causing addiction and without harming the heart and blood vessels, unlike other stimulants.
  • Phenylethylamine. In the body, it turns into serotonin - one of the most important mood-regulating chemicals.

2. Protects against cardiovascular disease

Regular consumption of cocoa helps fight the diseases of the cardiovascular system Cocoa, chocolate and cardiovascular disease. . This is confirmed by a study conducted in 2006, during which 470 participants consumed a different amount of cocoa per day. Scientists have found that cocoa really reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease Plasma LDL and HDL cholesterol and ox>.

In another study, it was found that almost all components of cocoa - theobromine, numerous polyphenols and antioxidants - have a positive effect on the heart and blood vessels of The cardiovascular benefits of dark chocolate. .

3. May help fight diabetes

Chocolate improves the functioning of the endothelium (cells forming the inner layer of blood vessels) and increases insulin sensitivity Protective effects of dark chocolate on endothelial function and diabetes. . Endothelium is very important for the health of arteries, and the risk of diabetes is usually determined by insulin sensitivity.

Of course, to protect yourself from diabetes, you need to eat dark chocolate with low sugar content.

4. May prevent stroke

Recently, a study was published that revealed that chocolate reduces the likelihood of a stroke. Habitual chocolate consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease among healthy men and women. . For decades, scientists have monitored the health of those who often consume chocolate and those who completely abandoned it. In total, researchers compared the performance of more than 20,000 people.

Of course, the results of such studies cannot be considered unambiguous. Perhaps those who ate a lot of chocolate have other common habits that have affected the low likelihood of a stroke.

6. Lowers blood pressure

Scientists at Harvard University analyzed 24 studies of the properties of chocolate and concluded that dark chocolate (with a cocoa content of 50–70%) lowers blood pressure Chocolate and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: A Systematic Review. . It is especially useful for those who already suffer from hypertension.

7. Helps with coughing

Theobromine contained in cocoa reduces the activity of the vagus nerve, an area of ​​the brain whose activation causes coughing attacks.

Scientists have found that chocolate suppresses coughs more effectively than conventional cold medicines - even those that contain codeine, which has a slightly narcotic effect Theobromine inhibits sensory nerve activation and cough. .

For this, an experiment was conducted in which participants were offered various cough suppressants. One group was given the usual medicine with codeine, the second a theobromine drug, and the third a placebo. Participants were then exposed to capsaicin, a burning substance in chili peppers. Theobromine medication group needed a third more capsaicin to start coughing.

8. Useful during pregnancy

During pregnancy, there is a risk of preeclampsia, a condition where the blood supply to the fetus is complicated or completely stops. This is due to the increase in blood pressure that is natural for pregnancy. Scientists have found that regular chocolate intake can reduce the risk of preeclampsia by lowering the blood pressure of Chocolate Consumption in Pregnancy and Reduced Likelihood of Preeclampsia. .

During the study, one group of women consumed chocolate with a high content of flavonoids, and the other with low. Positive results were noted in both groups.

9. Stimulates brain function

Frequent use of quality chocolate improves the ability to process information, visual-figurative and abstract thinking, RAM Chocolate intake is associated with better cognitive function. .

British psychologists from the University of Northumbria conducted a study and found that flavonoids contained in chocolate help to count University studies on dark chocolate in the mind. . During the experiment, the ability of participants to count before and after they drank a cup of hot cocoa was compared.

10. Is a source of antioxidants

Antioxidants fight free radicals in the body - particles associated with the onset of cancer.

Scientists have calculated the relative antioxidant activity (Relative Antiox> Protective effects of dark chocolate on endothelial function and diabetes.

12. Contains a lot of nutrients

Half a cup of pure cocoa contains:

  • Vitamin B2, 6% of the daily norm.
    This vitamin helps to convert food into energy, facilitates the absorption of iron in the intestines. It also improves the condition of the skin and hair, has a positive effect on vision and brain function.
  • Vitamin B3, 4% of the daily norm.
    Useful for skin, nails and red blood cells. Like vitamin B2, it is involved in metabolism.
  • Calcium, 5% of the daily norm.
    It is necessary for the proper functioning of muscles and nerve cells, regulates blood pressure and the production of hormones. Especially important for healthy bones and teeth.
  • Iron, 33% of the daily norm.
    Participates in the formation of hemoglobin and oxygen transfer. Iron is also involved in the production of amino acids.
  • Magnesium, 53% of the daily norm.
    Together with calcium, it helps to reduce muscle and metabolism, regulates blood pressure, strengthens bones and teeth.
  • Phosphorus, 30% of the daily norm.
    Essential for bone health. In addition, it is part of DNA and is involved in the metabolism.
  • Zinc, 40% of the daily norm.
    It is used as a building block of proteins and cells; it helps to assimilate vitamin A. It is also useful for the immune system.
  • Copper, 80% of the daily norm.
    It plays an important role in the formation of red blood cells, is useful for metabolism, immunity and the proper functioning of the nervous system.
  • Manganese, 83% of the daily norm.
    Trace and antioxidant necessary for the development of bone tissue. However, too much manganese can cause mental problems.
  • Omega-6 fatty acids, 378 mg.
    They are necessary for the work of the brain, help to remove cholesterol from the body, provide energy.
  • Caffeine99 mg.
    The stimulant found in coffee and tea and the most controversial component of chocolate.

About one half of the above amount of cocoa will be consumed per bar of dark chocolate (80% cocoa).

14. Strengthens the immune system

Inflammation is the reaction of tissues to pathogenic microorganisms, chemicals, wounds and infections. Cocoa regulates the inflammatory response of the immune system due to the flavonoids contained in it, The effects of cocoa on the immune system. .

In addition, cocoa has a positive effect on lymphoid tissue and some types of cells that produce antibodies that help fight bacteria and diseases.

A few words about chocolate

A few words about chocolate

The most healthy variety of chocolate is dark. Milk contains a lot of sugar, its use seriously harms the figure, and white chocolate, strictly speaking, is not chocolate at all. There is not a gram of cocoa in it, but for traditional chocolate it is a prerequisite. Scientists have proven that dark chocolate is not just healthy, but in some cases even necessary, for example, for people with diabetes. It contains the largest number of trace elements that lower blood pressure and sugar. Dark chocolate also has a positive effect on vision, reduces the risk of vascular thrombosis and improves mood.

Simple rules

Having bought a tile, do not put it in the refrigerator; chocolate does not like temperature changes. The ideal conditions for eating this dessert are 22-24 degrees Celsius, moderate dryness and daylight. White chocolate goes well with nuts: cashews and hazelnuts, berries: strawberries, blueberries, as well as brie cheese. The taste of milk chocolate is best revealed by oranges, peanuts, goji berries and, you will not believe it, but bacon. Dark experts recommend trying with salted caramel, mint, lime, grapes or seafood. If we talk about compatibility with drinks, then white chocolate is perfect for any white wine, dairy can burgundy and rosé wines and port wine, dark chocolate is best combined with red wines. Remember the golden rule: wine should be sweeter than chocolate.

There can be no strict rules for chocolate, because it should be fun. There are only recommendations that will help you enjoy the taste of the dessert and better feel it.

Claire Coutin, director of the Moscow Chocolate Salon

You can’t do this

You can’t do this

  • If you have never tried it before, then do not buy chocolate with a cocoa content of 85% -100%, it will seem very bitter to you and will beat off the desire to eat dark chocolate in principle.
  • Do not try to eat a chocolate bar quickly - you don’t even have time to understand what it was like to dig a whole tile. And do not satisfy your hunger, and you will not receive pleasure.
  • It’s better not to chew the chocolate - hold the square in your mouth and let it melt a little, the taste will open as much as possible, it will become saturated, and besides, you won’t be able to overeat.
  • Do not buy stale chocolate - it has already lost half of the most important thing - its unique smell.
  • Do not eat chocolate on an empty stomach. To enjoy the dessert, wait at least half an hour after eating.

Chocolate in Belgium

Chocolate in Belgium

The real capital of chocolate is Brussels, in the city more than 500 chocolatiers are doing their job professionally! In general, almost 200,000 tons of chocolate per year are produced in Belgium. There are more than 2000 shops, 16 museums and 12 chocolate factories. The owner of the Belgian chocolate atelier Frederic Blondel once said that his compatriots would rather survive without the Government than without chocolate. True, we must admit that tiles here are less popular than sweets with a variety of fillings. In addition, the Belgians share the delicacy into chocolate “for their own” and chocolate “for the tourists”, so when choosing a dessert, be careful and do not grab the first beautiful wrapper that comes across.

Chocolate in France

Chocolate in France

In Paris, there are more than 300 shops with sweets, and a chocolate croissant is an integral part of a traditional breakfast in France. Moreover, the French prefer not chocolate candies, but tiles: traditional dark French chocolate contains the least sugar in comparison with the “world quantity”, and the percentage of cocoa beans in it is from 62% to 86% or more. It is also known that the French use less oil and cream, so French sweets are one of the least high-calorie ones, and French ladies are slim and graceful at any age.

We, the French, are proud of our cuisine and are very responsible about food. Of course, this also applies to chocolate. Chocolate is generally one of the most beloved products in our country, we even have two whole holidays for which it is traditionally customary to give this dessert in France - this is Christmas and Easter.

Claire Coutin, director of the Moscow Chocolate Salon

Chocolate in the world

The history of chocolate dates back more than one century, so it is not surprising that different countries have their own traditions associated with it. For example, in the Netherlands it is customary to give each other chocolate letters for Christmas, and this must be the initials of the happy recipient of the presentation. In Japan, some spa complexes offer a special service for Valentine's Day: a joint chocolate bath. In Mexico, cocoa beans make a sauce that is used almost everywhere - from vegetable salads to dishes with turkey. Americans eat chocolate with bacon, while Italians eat chicken. In the most "chocolate" countries - Belgium and Switzerland - an average of 10-11 kilograms of chocolate per year for every citizen, while in Russia - only 1-2 kilograms. We don’t know about you, but we at the editor of decided that this norm should be urgently increased.

To learn more about chocolate, visit the Fifth Moscow Chocolate Salon, which will be held from March 5 to 8 at the Expocenter on Krasnaya Presnya.

Photo: Shutterstock, Legion Media

Proper chocolate

First of all, I want to note that a healthy diet does not at all mean giving up chocolate. Moreover, this is not only my opinion, but also the opinion of many nutritionists. As you know, any extremes are harmful and the case with chocolate is no exception. Chocolate will perfectly fit into your diet, but on one condition - if you follow certain rules and observe elementary caution. After all, if there is a lot of chocolate, this can affect not only the figure, but also health in general. Therefore, do not completely exclude chocolate from the diet: just learn to eat it as much as you and your body really need. Further - after the end of the "chocolate diet" it is quite possible to eat a little more "forbidden" goodies as a reward for the inconvenience. First, dispel one myth that has become so persistent that women are simply afraid to use white chocolate. It is believed that when losing weight, it is necessary to give preference to dark chocolate. Of course, it actually contains several substances that are absent in white, but the fact is that the calorie content of each of these varieties is the same - about 500 calories. per 100 g. And in milk chocolate it is exactly the same. Поэтому, если вам больше нравится белый или молочный шоколад – ешьте на здоровье. Если же предпочитаете черный — пожалуйста, потому что никакой разницы в калорийности между ними нет. Теперь поговорим о пропорциях и времени приема.

Как и когда можно есть шоколад

Ну а теперь начинаем грамотно включать шоколад в наш режим питания. Правила его употребления очень просты. The most important thing to learn: eat chocolate in small portions either after a meal or during a snack - of course, if you want it. Small - this means two or three slices, and not half the tile. Therefore, if it’s hard for you to resist, break off these slices and take the tile away or even give it to someone - until the next snack. Chocolate should not be in your sight all the time. That's exactly what you need to enjoy chocolate - there is not one half a tile per sitting, but several slices, in extreme cases - one plate. Remember that if you eat this way, you will very soon notice that you have stopped gaining excess weight, and chocolate will finally take its rightful place in your diet. It’s better to limit yourself a bit and continue to enjoy your favorite treat, than to show immoderation and then worry - it's very simple.