I am often asked if chocolate can be eaten.
The answer is yes, but obviously it is necessary to specify the type!
We are talking about dark chocolate only, with a percentage of cocoa mass of at least 70-80%, better if sweetened with whole sugars, such as cane sugar or coconut flower sugar, or natural syrups (such as agave).
Many are the scientific studies which declare the positive effects of this food on human health.
The most important element is the high content of antioxidants, especially flavonoids, which are good for the heart, vascular system and central nervous system, and are able to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.
In general, these antioxidants, like others found in nature, have a positive impact on all diseases, including cancer, autoimmune, rheumatic and neurodegenerative diseases.
In addition, antioxidants positively modulate both the quantity and the quality of useful microbial species in our intestine, thus promoting the reduction of inflammation and dysbiosis.
TO EAT OR NOT TO EAT CHOCOLATE
Chocolate is also a significant source of micronutrients essential for the proper functioning of the body:
Finally, it is an excellent antistress because it stimulates the production of serotonin, also called the hormone of happiness because it intervenes in the processes which regulate mood, sleep, appetite, sexuality, empathy, creativity, learning and memory.
There are also situations in which it is better to avoid chocolate, such as in subjects who suffer from migraine (although studies about this are very controversial), in those with acne, in people with pathologies of the gastro enteric tract (colitis, gastritis, gastric reflux, etc…) and in allergic people.
Although many studies confirm the health benefits of chocolate, it should be remembered it is a high-calorie food (about 500 kcal per hectare) and its abuse can lead to weight gain.
At the most it can be consumed 30 grams per day.
A recent review has stated that in the quantities indicated, the integration of chocolate for at least 4 weeks induced a decrease in body weight.
Surely chocolate, besides being one of the most loved and desired foods by the world’s population, it is also one of the most interesting foods in the scientific world and there are many studies in progress in order to better understand its characteristics and properties.
“To Eat or Not to Eat: A Review of the Relationship
between Chocolate and Migraines”; Magdalena Nowaczewska et al.; Nutrients 2020.
“Does cocoa/dark chocolate supplementation have favorable e_ect on body weight, body mass index and waist circumference?
A systematic review, meta-analysis and dose-response of randomized clinical trials”; Kord-Varkaneh, H. et al.; Crit. Rev. Food Sci. Nutr.; 2019.
“The cardiovascular effects of chocolate”; Jose P. Garcia et al.; Rev. Cardiovasc. Med. 2018.
“Cocoa and Dark Chocolate Polyphenols: From Biology to Clinical Applications”;
Magrone T. et al; Front Immunol. 2017.
Chocolate, “Food of the Gods”: History, Science, and Human Health.
Montagna MT, Diella G, Triggiano F, Caponio GR, De Giglio O, Caggiano G, Di Ciaula A, Portincasa P.Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019