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    Scientists have dispelled myths about the dangers of chocolate for health: how to choose the right treat

    Many cannot live without chocolate, and some can easily give it up

    Many cannot live without chocolate, and some can easily give it up. However, it is after this delicacy that we begin to feel better. But not all chocolate is equally healthy, but scientists do not recommend completely excluding it from the diet. It all depends on the right variety. Experts explained how to enjoy sweetness without harm to your health.


    Very dark natural chocolate is rich in flavonoids – substances from the category of polyphenols. Flavonoids are present in many plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, tea and coffee. Flavonoids are full of antioxidants that protect cells from damaging free radicals that increase your risk of cancer, heart disease and other conditions.

    However, you won't get all of these benefits if you choose the wrong chocolate. Many of these treats that are most readily available to consumers are ultra-processed. During this process, chocolate is filled with sugar, milk, and oils. If you overdo it, you can get unpleasant consequences for the body (from heartburn to weight gain).

    “It depends on what kind of chocolate you choose. Chocolate bar – it is not the same as a square of very dark natural chocolate. Dark chocolate in moderation can be a healthy addition to your daily diet,” – emphasizes nutritionist-psychiatrist and biologist, professional chef Uma Naidu.

    Flavonoids are found in cocoa beans and cocoa. Therefore, you should start with this wonderful drink.

    Countless studies show that flavonoids can reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, improve mood, and reduce symptoms of depression. Flavonoids may also help improve cognitive function, as well as counteract cognitive deficits that result from lack of sleep.

    “Cocoa— it's not the same as the chocolate we eat every day. Flavonoids are beneficial to our blood vessels and overall health and may help reduce the risk of heart problems and other chronic diseases,” — says Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at the Italian University of L'Aquila in Sant'Omero Davide Grassi.

    But it is important to distinguish natural cocoa, obtained from cocoa beans growing in tropical forests, from processed chocolate, which is made by combining cocoa with sugar and other ingredients, he adds. Consider using plain cocoa powder in drinks or baked goods.

    “I use it to make energy balls. I mix it with almond butter and dates, make balls out of them and store them in the refrigerator. This is a great way to get cocoa powder without the saturated fat and added sugar. They are phenomenal,” — Cleveland Clinic nutritionist Julia Zumpano shares a secret.

    According to experts, dark chocolate often contains high amounts of cocoa, less sugar and more flavonoids. Very dark chocolate — the healthiest form of chocolate you can eat. It usually has less sugar than other forms of chocolate and does not contain milk or additional fat.

    «The darker the better. Milk chocolate has less dark chocolate, and white chocolate has no chocolate at all,” — says Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. T.Ch. Chan Eric Rimm.

    By the way, white chocolate usually consists of cocoa butter, sugar, milk solids and milk fat, but without cocoa solids.

    It's unclear how much chocolate you need to eat per day to reap the health benefits, since the studies refer to pure cocoa. Then how to choose the right chocolate?

    Look for dark chocolate that states on the label that it contains 70 percent cocoa or more. Some experts believe that a higher — 80% or more — even better, since more cocoa usually means less sugar. And in general, eating a whole bar of chocolate with 80 percent cocoa beans content will not be easy…

    Keep in mind that the concentration of flavonoids is not indicated on the labels. But the darker the chocolate, the more flavonoids it may contain.

    Consider eating at least one square of dark chocolate every other day. Some experts recommend one or two squares per day.

    Limit milk and white chocolate. “Think of white chocolate as white bread,” — emphasized registered dietitian and health education manager at UC Davis Health Katie Deimecke.

    Pregnant women and children are still advised to limit their consumption of chocolate.

    Of course, chocolate should not be considered “healthy” ; food in the same sense as fresh fruits and vegetables, but no one should deprive themselves of this delicacy, experts say.

    «We definitely don't want to discourage anyone from eating chocolate because it brings people joy and happiness,” — experts note.

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