Chocolate Health Facts
All we'll have to do is give him a triple dosage of my wonderful Supervitamin Chocolate. Supervitamin Chocolate contains huge amounts of vitamin A and vitamin B ... and, believe it or not, vitamin Z! The only two vitamins it doesn’t have in it are vitamin S, because it makes you sick, and vitamin H, because it makes you grow horns on the top of your head, like a bull. But it does have a very small amount of the rarest and most magical vitamin of them all - vitamin Wonka ... It's most useful. He'll be able to play the piano with his feet." - Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Antioxidants have the power to reduce the risks of cancer and heart disease
It is amazing to note the abundance of antioxidants present in chocolate in comparison to other well-known antioxidant rich foods. Among these are teas, red wines, fruits, legumes and vegetables. Check out the following chart published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
Top Antioxidant Bearing Foods (ORAC* Units per 100 grams)
Dark Chocolate: 13,120
Milk Chocolate: 6,740
Brussel Sprouts: 980
Alfalfa Sprouts: 930
Broccoli Florets: 890
Red Grapes: 739
Red Bell Pepper: 710
*ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) is a measure of the ability of the foods to subdue harmful oxygen free radicals that can damage our bodies.
The mineral properties of cacao include copper, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and calcium. Of these, magnesium is reportedly the most deficient mineral of the modern diet. Along with seeds, nuts and seaweeds, cacao is a major source for this much needed mineral. Traditionally, we associate chocolate with love, valentine's day, passion... It is interesting to note that the heart muscle contains and demands high concentrations of magnesium. Truly, as valentine's day suggests, chocolate could be considered good for our hearts. Additionally, magnesium serves to support strong bones, relaxed muscles and is a natural laxative. Nice.
Phenylethylamine: pheny - who?
Phenylethylamine (PEA) is found in chocolate. Try it like this - fennal - EH - thal - a - mean Never mind - PEA. PEA is a chemical associated with adrenal health. It is created within the brain and released when we are in love. Supposedly, chocolate has the ability to create a mild version of the "warm fuzzies" you experience when you are in love. It's so true that this food is a love potion! And you thought it was all Godiva hype. PEA is one of the reasons why love and chocolate have a deep correlation. PEA also plays a role in increasing focus and alertness, which can certainly help if you're in love.
Anandamide, also known as the "bliss chemical," is released by the brain when we are feeling great. This "bliss chemical" is also found in the properties of chocolate, which could explain why we consider chocolate to be a natural mood enhancer. As an additional bonus, chocolate contains enzyme inhibitors that decrease the body's ability to metabolize anandamide prolonging feelings of bliss. If bliss lasts longer than 4 hours consult your doctor immediately. Talk about getting all the bang for your buck.
A 1.4 oz serving of chocolate contains the same amount of caffeine as one cup of Decaffeinated Coffee. So why do we associate caffeine with chocolate? In addition to small amounts of caffeine, chocolate also contains theobromine. Possessing a similar molecular structure as caffeine, theobromine contains only 25% stimulant power as compared to caffeine. Theobromine acts as a gentle heart and body stimulant in humans but don't ever, ever, ever feed your dog chocolate. This is actually very important to remember as dogs lack the enzymes used to metabolize theobromine. Eating chocolate can result in severe cardiac arrest and could lead to death.
Let's talk about fat: Stearic Acid
Cacao and dark chocolate do not contain cholesterol; however, they do contain the saturated fatty acid, stearic acid. Even when consuming chocolate regularly, this special fatty acid will not stimulate the production of LDL - a.k.a. "bad" cholesterol - and, it is suggested, that it can have a positive effect on "good" cholesterol. Please don't misunderstand. We're not saying that the fat in chocolate won't have the same caloric effect as other fats. Overconsumption can result in increased waistlines! oh, but who cares anyway? we're just going to eat our chocolate.