Sunday, October 4, 2009

Chocolates - Healthy or Unhealthy?

Recent studies have linked chocolate compounds to better functioning of the heart. But before you start gorging on those candy bars in the name of good health, you must know that not all chocolates have antioxidants that may be beneficial for you. From cocoa powder to candy bars, cacao beans are used for making all sorts of chocolate delights. However, the content of flavonols (antioxidant effective for health) differs in various chocolate products on the basis of how the cacao beans are processed.

Why is dark chocolate considered good for health? Milk chocolates have less flavonols as compared to dark chocolates. Production methods with extreme heat are used in order to make chocolates less bitter. In this process, cacao beans tend to lose high amounts of flavonol. Dark chocolate is said to have high levels of antioxidants that can balance few hormones in the body and relax blood pressure through nitric oxide production.

Chocolate companies are not required to mention the content of flavanol on their labels, making it difficult for health conscious consumers to know whether or not their favorite chocolate is good for their heart.

Contradictory yet interesting articles on the health benefits or hazards of chocolates keep getting published almost every day. Recently, Sweden researchers have found evidence that chocolate can help patients recover after a non-fatal heart attack. Based on this study it was also concluded that the rate of death among chocolate consumers was less as compared to chocolate abstainers. But in a different study, researchers have found that daily chocolate consumption in children can make them more violent as they grow up. Taking such reports into consideration, it seems that consumers can only make an informed choice and keep a check on their daily chocolate consumption for good health.

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