Chocolate comes from a fruit called a pod that grows on the cacao tree. A seedling tree generally must mature for five years before it produces pods, with peak pod production happening at 10 years. A cocoa tree can bear fruit and produce pods for 30 to 40 years. Each pod is similar in size to a football, and contains up to 50 cocoa beans. To make one ounce of milk chocolate, it takes 4 cocoa beans, and one ounce of dark chocolate requires 12 beans. An average American or Canadian will consume about 12 pounds of chocolate per year. However, the Swiss are the world’s largest consumers of chocolate, eating about 22 pounds of chocolate per person per year!
Chocolate Helps to Prevent “Bad” Cholesterol
Chocolate is rich in phenolics, the same heart protective antioxidants found in wine. In fact, 1.5 ounces of chocolate -the amount of a typical chocolate bar - has as many phenolitcs as a glass of red wine. These chemicals help lower the risk of heart disease and prevent clot-like substances from clogging arteries.
Stearic acid, a saturated fat found in red meat and chocolate, does not raise cholesterol levels compared to other saturated fats. Cells treated with stearic acid, which are normally found in beef and chocolate appear to cut the liver's output of fat and work to help pull "bad" cholesterol out of the blood.
Chocolate is Low in Caffeine
Chocolate is comparatively low in caffeine. For example a one-ounce piece of milk chocolate contains approximately 6 milligrams of caffeine, while a five-ounce cup of decaffeinated brewed coffee contains 3 milligrams of caffeine, and a five-ounce cup of caffeinated instant coffee contains 65 milligrams of caffeine. A five-ounce cup of brewed coffee can have upto 115 milligrams of caffeine. Tea is also high in caffeine - ranging from 30-60 milligrams for a five-ounce cup.
Another Reason for you to Enjoy Chocolate, guilt free
Dark chocolate has been identified has high in Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. ORAC is a method of measuring antioxidant capacity, and has been applied to vegetables, spices, fruits and berries. There is a high correlation between high antioxidant capacity and the free-radical theory of aging - meaning foods high in ORAC help combat the effects of aging due to free-radicals. In every 100g of dark chocolate there are 13,120 ORAC, compared to 5938 in one cup of strawberries or 13,427 in a cup of blueberries.
Chocolate Makes You Feel Great
Chocolate is part of a healthy, balanced diet and it makes you feel great! A substance in chocolate called theobromine triggers the release of endorphins, which are chemicals, produced by the brain, that act like a natural antidepressant and can temporarily relieve the blues.
Chocolate Helps You Live Longer
Research proves that candy eaters live almost a year longer than those who abstain.
Chocolate is Good for You
Research has confirmed that chocolate is a good source of the kind of antioxidants found in tea. But actually, the antioxidant content of chocolate is four times that of tea. Plus, the fat in chocolate can help your immune system and it can also help outwit cytokines by reducing your susceptibility to infections and inflammation.
Chocolate Won't Cause Acne
Scientists have concluded that pure chocolate won't cause acne.
Chocolate Can Aid in Whiter Teeth
A dark bar, with its high cocoa-to-sugar ratio, may actually discourage tooth decay and lead to fewer cavities and whiter teeth.
Ease a Cough With Chocolate
One of chocolate's active ingredients, Theobromine, suppresses activity in the vagus nerve, which causes coughing. According to a study published in a recent issue of The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology journal, it was one-third more effective at stopping a persistent cough than a placebo.
Suggested serving size: One 50-gram bar of dark chocolate or two cups (500 mL) of hot cocoa (made with real cocoa, not hot chocolate mix) per day.
Why Women Need Chocolate — Eat What You Crave to Look and Feel Great
Written by Debra Waterhouse, M.P.H., R.D, this book explains the important gender differences in food cravings, why the female biology triggers a need for chocolate and other foods, and how women can enhance emotional and physical well-being by responding to their vital food messages.
Chocolate Facts from Best Health Magazine Published March/April 2009
- Chocolate May Improve Skin - Researches at Germany’s Heinrich Heine University exposed chocolate eaters to ultraviolet light and found that after 6 weeks, they had 15% less skin reddening than those who didn’t eat it. After 12 weeks, the chocolate eaters’ skin was 16% denser and 42% less scaly. “We believe that compounds in chocolate act as UV filters,” says study leader Wilhelm Stahl.
Checks Cancer - Georgetown University researchers found that when breast cancer cells were treated with chocolate flavanols, the cells stopped dividing.
Boosts the Brain - A brain imaging study on healthy women at Britain’s University of Nottingham found flavanol-rich cocoa increased blood flow to their brains for two to three hours. Researchers believe cocoa could benefit older adults with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Relieves Fatigue - Chronic fatigue syndrome patients who ate 1.6 ounces (45 g) of dark chocolate daily for eight weeks were less tired than when fed placebos. Researchers think it boosts the neurotransmitters regulating sleep and mood.
May We Suggest - Links to Recommended Chocolate Related Articles
Chocolate again linked to better heart health
Increased intakes of chocolate may decrease the risk of a heart attack victim from dying from heart-related problems, according to a joint US-Swedish study.