Chocolate is made from tropical Theobroma cacao tree seeds. Its earliest use dates back to the Olmec civilization in Mesoamerica.
After the European discovery of the Americas, chocolate became very popular in the wider world, and its demand exploded.
Chocolate has since become a popular food product that millions enjoy every day, thanks to its unique, rich, and sweet taste.
But what effect does eating chocolate have on our health?
Fast facts on chocolate
Here are some key points about chocolate. More detail is in the main article.
- Chocolate consumption has long been associated with conditions such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, and hypertension.
- Chocolate is believed to contain high levels of antioxidant
- Some studies have suggested chocolate could lower cholesterol levels and prevent memory decline.
- Chocolate contains a large number of calories.
- People who are seeking to lose or maintain weight should eat chocolate only in moderation
Chocolate receives a lot of bad press because of its high fat and sugar content. Its consumption has been associated with acne, obesity, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and diabetes.
However, according to a review of chocolate’s health effects published in the Netherlands Journal of Medicine, it’s not all bad news.
The authors point to the discovery that cocoa, the key ingredient in chocolate, contains biologically active phenolic compounds.
This has changed people’s views on chocolate, and it has stimulated research into how it might impact aging, and conditions such as oxidative stress, blood pressure regulation, and atherosclerosis.
Chocolate’s antioxidant potential may have a range of health benefits. The higher the cocoa content, as in dark chocolate, the more benefits there are. Dark chocolate may also contain less fat and sugar, but it is important to check the label.
Eating chocolate may have the following benefits:
- lowering cholesterol levels
- preventing cognitive decline
- reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems
It is important to note that the possible health benefits mentioned below came from single studies. More research is needed to confirm that eating chocolate can really improve people’s health.
In addition, chocolate bars do not contain only cocoa. The benefits and risks of any other ingredients, such as sugar and fat, need to be considered.