Dark chocolate and cholesterol

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Robert Maurer
@robertmaurer
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wikipedia.org

Author and references

Why is it good for you? (without exaggerating!)

The beneficial properties of chocolate derive from cacao. The dark versions that have a cocoa percentage higher than 70% allow you to make the most of these qualities. 


 

Milk or white versionsin fact, they contain many other ingredients that nullify the beneficial properties of cocoa (in addition to containing a much lower percentage). 

 

Chocolate is in fact one of the few food products to which one has been reserved at European level specific legislation that specifies the names and the relative compositional requirements


 

According to this legislation, iChocolate is a preparation based on low-fat cocoa powder, cocoa butter and sugar (at least 1%); percentages that must be specified on the label accompanying the product. According to the classification dictated by the legislative decree 12/6/2003, n. 178, dark chocolate can be:

 

dark chocolate: it must contain a minimum percentage of cocoa of 43% while the cocoa butter must be at least 28%. The dry substance (cocoa mass and cocoa) can vary from the percentage of 55% to 70%;

 

extra-dark: the minimum percentage of cocoa mass is 75%; 


 

extra amaro: chocolate with a percentage of cocoa mass from 85% to 90%.

 

From a nutritional point of view, dark chocolate is characterized by: a low calorie profile (100 g of product provide about 490 Kcal, against 550 Kcal of white chocolate), a high level relaxing action given by valeric acid, and an interesting one antidepressant action given by the presence of tryptophan (endogenous precursor of serotonin), phenylalanine, tyrosine. 


 

Polyphenols are contained in large quantities: a square of chocolate contains an amount of polyphenols equal to a cup of green tea and double that of a glass of red wine. 

 

Nutritionally, the best chocolates are the ones with high dosages of cocoa powder, where most of the antioxidant microelements are concentrated they have a positive effect on the heart and arteries, but also on mood and cell regeneration mechanisms. 

 

Dark chocolate - a real drug

Within a balanced diet, cocoa and its derivatives find a natural and appropriate place: consumed in adequate quantities contribute to the daily intake of oligonutrients with proven biological and physiological activity. 

 

The extra dark chocolate is a fat-free chocolate: you can consume up to 7-10 g per day (equal to about 2 squares) to reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure and keep arteries clean thanks to a particular alkaloid, the theobromine


 

This substance also promotes the influx of oxygen to the brain, improving memory and concentration e reducing the sense of fatigue. The theobromine it is also a good diuretic because it acts as a cardiac and renal vasodilator: a dark chocolate bar contains three times more than a milk tablet. 

 

I polyphenols of dark chocolate help reduce the risk of contracting the type II diabetes, lower bad cholesterol (LDL) by increasing good cholesterol (HDL); finally, the cocoa butter it is rich in stearic acid, which lowers high blood pressure and reduces cholesterol and triglycerides. 



 

Dark chocolate: let's dispel some myths

Does chocolate make you fat? No.
Its high calorie content is due to the presence of fats and sugars and not to cocoa. A 100 g bar of extra dark chocolate provides about 490 calories (550 for the milk one), an 80 gram serving of spaghetti with tomato and basil provides about 422 calories while an average slice of tart with jam about 550. 

 

Then also when following a weight loss diet you can afford a square of dark chocolate, because it only equates to 22 calories.  

 

Does chocolate cause pimples? No.
Acne and pimples are linked to hormonal problems and not from the sometimes excessive consumption of chocolate.  

 

Does chocolate increase cholesterol? No.
The combined action of cocoa butter, sugar and milk has various protective substances. Between these, antioxidants that help avoid the oxidation of cholesterol, a process that can lead to blockage of the arteries and reduced blood flow.  


 

There is no trace of cholesterol in cocoa and dark chocolate, while a hectogram of milk chocolate contains only 16 mg, the same quantity for a hectogram of gianduiotti which, however, derive from milk and not from cocoa. About 8 mg of cholesterol is assimilated with a cup of chocolate, the same amount contained in 100 grams of semi-skimmed natural yogurt. 

 

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