Some facts about chocolate and its effects on your health and well being.
Chocolate is not high in cholesterol - cocoa beans are plants and therefore do not contain cholesterol (although milk chocolate will obviously contain cholesterol, even then it is only 7mg per ounce). Poor quality chocolate will contain easily absorbed saturated fats but the cocoa butter used in high quality chocolate (which is a mono-unsaturated fat) is not easily absorbed and is high in staeric acid which has been found in some studies to actually reduce cholesterol levels.
Chocolate contains phenylethylamine an amino acid which the brain releases when we fall in love and which has aphrodisiac properties; this is why people enjoy chocolate so much. In addition, it is supposed to be good for helping ease hangovers. Chocolate also contains magnesium which is involved in making serotonin which is a chemical released after eating carbohydrates that evokes a feeling of calm. It also contains endorphins, chemicals which are released after eating fat and which transmit a feeling of euphoria and energy.
Chocolate does not contain large amounts of caffeine - only 6mg an ounce (there are 180mg in a 5 ounce cup of coffee). Chocolate clears the mouth quicker than carbohydrates found in starches so it does not linger as they do and allow acid levels in the mouth to build up. Therefore, it does not cause tooth decay to the same extent as other high-sugar foods and an antibacterial agent has been found in chocolate that actually slows the formation of plaque.
It has been suggested that phenolics, antioxidants found in chocolate, also help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. The healthiest form of chocolate will be the purest and , containing high levels of cocoa solids with very little sugar. Much chocolate that is on sale in this country contains 20% or less cocoa solids and a great deal of sugar. This probably explains why chocolate in general has such a poor reputation when it comes to your health.
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