It's close to Easter and you know what that means - chocolate, peeps, candies and more chocolate! I do not want to rain on your parade for this chocolate season by stating all the negative facts about chocolate, so I will embrace the fact that we will all be enjoying that glorious rendition of the cocoa bean and try to direct your attention towards the benefits of dark chocolate.
What are polyphenols and flavonoids? I mention these a lot and when reading about good nutrition, these words will come up often. Polyphenols are compounds that plants produce that have health benefits in the body. Flavonoids are one sort of polyphenol that have antioxidant (prevents cells from oxidizing) properties in plants and in the human body. These compounds may help protect our bodies from harmful environmental substances called free radicals.
How does Dark Chocolate compare to Milk Chocolate?
If you MUST eat chocolate this Easter, the optimal choice would be dark chocolate. However, do not over indulge! Although dark chocolate has many nutritional benefits, it is also accompanies many calories. 1 oz of dark chocolate will suffice to achieve these benefits and if you are sensitive to caffeine, be sure to enjoy earlier in the day as dark chocolate has much more caffeine than milk chocolate. Remember, the greater the amount of cocoa, the greater the nutritional quality of the chocolate. Bon appetit!
Taubert, D. The Journal of the American Medical Association, July 4, 2007; vol 298: pp 49-60. News release, JAMA/Archives.
University of Michigan Integrative Medicine. Healing Foods Pyramid. Accessed April 1, 2015 from: http://www.med.umich.edu/
Toole, Michelle. 30 Unhealthy Foods You Mistake as Healthy and their Surprising Swaps. Accessed April 1, 2015 from: http://www.healthy-holistic-living.com
Easter Bunny picture retrieved from ediblecreations.com