Cochin Cardiac Club

Health Blog by Dr.Uday Nair


Since centuries, chocolate has been extremely appreciated by individuals of all ages because of its unique taste. Several experts have observed that chocolates are harmful and excessive consumption frequently leads to tooth decay. A number of medical professionals have affirmed that chocolates have sugar substances and therefore enhance the level of calories in the body and augment the sugar concentration in the blood. But, it has been in recent times established that chocolates are beneficial for the health since they have numerous advantages.

Let's start off with some of the health-giving attributes of chocolate:

  • It's rich in certain essential minerals, and it's packed with bioflavonoids, especially flavonols.
  • Chocolate is thought to improve blood flow and elasticity in blood vessels; lower blood pressure; improve overall heart health; and reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
  • It can decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol as well as the body's inflammatory immune responses.
  • Chocolate is thought to improve insulin resistance and sensitivity.
  • It can increase alertness, lessen pain and promote a general feeling of well-being.
  • Chocolate may reduce the risk of cancer.

Chocolate is also a good source of magnesium, copper, and iron; with lesser amounts of calcium, zinc, Vitamin A, niacin, and phosphorus.
  • Magnesium is critical to a large number of body functions, including the formation and maintenance of strong bones, muscle and nerve function, and regular bowel function.Magnesium helps ease menstrual cramps. So that gives you a good reason to have chocolate before and during your periods.
  • Iron is an important part of hemoglobin and thus is essential to oxygen transport in the body. Iron also assists short-term storage of oxygen in muscle tissue, including the muscle tissues in the heart.
  • Copper is an important antioxidant and is critical to the body's detoxification mechanism. It's also important to the formation of red blood cells.

Chocolate also has a more direct stress-reducing effect. It contains a compound called anandamide—also known as the "bliss chemical"—that binds to certain receptors in the brain to promote relaxation.
Another mood-altering compound found in chocolate is phenylethylamine, a chemical supposedly released by the brain.Phenylethylamine in chocolate is too rapidly metabolized by the body to have the purported effect.

If that weren’t enough, chocolate also boosts brain levels of serotonin. Women typically have lower serotonin levels during PMS and menstruation, which may be one reason women typically experience stronger cravings for chocolate at these times in their cycles. People suffering from depression so characteristically have lower serotonin levels that an entire class of anti-depressive medications called serotonin uptake inhibitors (including Prozac, Paxil, and Zooloft) have been developed that raise brain levels of serotonin.

In the end the health benefits of chocolate are many...I'm talking about chocolate in its purest form - as close to the bean as you can get.The key is to find a bar with high cocoa content. The higher the cocoa content, the less room there is for cocoa butter, sugar, lecithin, vanilla, milk, and other stuff that makes chocolate less of a vegetable and more of a candy.It would be wiser to choose dark chocolate over milk or white as “sweetened, concentrated milk could cause health problems like diabetes and obesity if consumed daily,

Most notably, chocolate is a champion antioxidant. Antioxidants help rid the body of free radicals, nasty little molecules running amok in your body which cause aging and disease. Antioxidants bond to free radicals and whisk them from your body via digestion and other means.

Below is the nutritional information for leading 4 chocolates in India:

: 486 calories, 6.5 gm protein, 60 gm carbohydrates, 24.5 gm fat, 23.5 gm saturated fat, 0.5 unsaturated fatty acids, 0.5 gm trans fatty acids, 192 mg calcium
Ingredients: sugar, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, milk solids, wheat flour, cocoa solids
Mars: 455 calories, 4.3 gm protein, 68.5 gm carbohydrates (sugar 62 gm), 18 gm fat (saturated fat 8 gm), 1 gm fiber
Ingredients: sugar, glucose syrup, whole milk powder, cocoa butter, vegetable fat (palm oil), cocoa mass, skim milk powder, whey powder
Snickers: 506 calories, 9.5 gm protein, 55.4 gm carbohydrates, 27.4 gm fat
Ingredients: Sugar, peanuts, glucose syrup, skim milk powder, vegetable fat, cocoa butter, cocoa mass, whey powder
Cadbury Dairy Milk: 529.7 calories, 10.2 gm protein, 59.7 gm carbohydrates (sugar 56.5 gm), 29 gm fat
Ingredients: sugar, cocoa butter, milk solids, cocoa solids
Cadbury 5 Star:  440.6 calories: 3.9 gm protein, 72.3 gm carbohydrates (sugar 52.3 gm), 16 gm fat
Ingredients: Liquid glucose, sugar, hydrogenated vegetable fats, milk solids, cocoa solids,
Munch: 480 calories: 5.9 gm protein, 64.6 gm carbs (sugar 27.5 gms), 21.5 gm, trans fatty acids: 0.1 gm, calcium 106 mg
Ingredients: sugar, wheat flour, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, milk solids, cocoa solids
Twix: 492 calories: 4.8 gm protein, 64.0 carbs, 24.1 gms fat
Ingredients: sugar, glucose syrup, wheat flour, vegetable fat, skim milk powder, cocoa butter
Gems: 390 calories: 4.8 gm protein, 64.4 gm carbs (60.1 gm sugar), 13.4 gm fat
Ingedients: Sugar, milk solids, hydrogenated vegetable fat, cocoa solids
Note: All weights and nutritional analysis is per 100 gms of each product.

Eat Chocolate in Moderation

Of course, as with all things, eating too much isn’t good. Just because something has health benefits, doesn’t mean you should eat it all day long. Eat your chocolate in moderation. Savor your chocolate and eat .

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