I am a foodie and like most of the people on this planet, I too love chocolates. They are one of those items which are liked by majority of population irrespective of gender, age or culture. I have seen mother buying chocolates for their kids and taking a bite from them. One of my client who is diabetic, opts for chocolates to cope up with sudden dip in sugar level (hypoglycemia) and ends up having the whole bar with an excuse of feeling weak and dizzy. It’s funny, right? But me despite of being a nutritionist, crave for them and don’t mind taking a few pieces.
Now the matter of fact is many myths are associated with chocolates. Most commonly heard are: chocolates cause acne, chocolates are bad for hearts and many more.
So, what exactly the chocolates are? Chocolate is made from the beans found in the pods of cocoa tree. Today, about three quarters of the world’s chocolate are grown in West Africa, while rest is grown in Brazil and few other parts of the world. Earlier chocolates were used as beverages but later people started eating it. There are mainly three varieties eaten: white, brown and dark chocolates.
Let us come to the facts about chocolates. Chocolates may not be a rich source of nutrients but consuming limited quantity is not harmful either.
The white chocolates contain cocoa butter but no cocoa solids. So, they get spoiled soon. However, the brown and dark varieties contain both cocoa butter and cocoa solids. These chocolates contain two main elements: Theobromine and caffeine. But the latter is present in a very small quantity. Theobromine acts as diuretic without stimulating the central nervous system. They contain flavonoids which have antioxidant properties. So, they are linked with decreased risk of heart diseases. Cocoa butter helps in keeping the skin lubricated which eventually result in glowing skin. It has been found that chocolates can elevate moods. Though no scientific basis has been found yet.
However, despite these benefits like any other food, chocolates too have their share of disadvantages. They are high in calories, fat and sugars. They contain a naturally occurring compound that can trigger migraine headaches in some susceptible people. Since they are high in sugars, they can promote bacterial growth in mouth resulting in tooth decay.
Whatsoever, chocolates do no harm at all if taken in a limited amount. A piece or two daily or a cup of hot chocolate on regular basis will not only keep your skin and heart healthy but also lighten up your mood and keep you energized.
But to enjoy it, never freeze it. The quality and flavor gets deteriorated. Also, savor it on empty stomach if you want to get the most of the flavor.