The Surprising Health Benefits from Eating Chocolate
It’s no secret that chocolate is a popular treat around the world. The U.S. alone boasts 20.96% of net cocoa imports, making it the world leader in all things chocolate. This is despite the fact that worldwide, consumers eat around 7.2 million metric tons of chocolate every year. Fortunately for chocolate lovers, not only is chocolate tasty and well-loved, it can also have health benefits if you know where to look.
For one, chocolate has a low caffeine content. A single one-ounce bar of milk chocolate only has five to six milligrams of caffeine, which is significantly less than coffee, tea and sodas. The caffeine found in chocolate is all natural, coming from the cocoa bean itself. According to Amano Chocolate, the caffeine protects the bean from being eaten by wildlife. Coffee and certain teas are also naturally caffeinated but contain about 10 to 30% more caffeine than chocolate.
The most health benefits in the chocolate family can be found in dark chocolate. According to Natural Society, the nutritional value comes from the cocoa beans themselves. Chocolates labeled “Fair Trade” have higher concentrations of cocoa and overall less milk, sugar, and high fructose corn syrup. Cocoa beans contain antioxidants that help support the immune system and are good for a health heart.
Chocolate is a popular between-meal snack and 22% percent of all chocolate is consumed between the hours of 8 p.m. and midnight. In order to decrease some of that midnight-snacking guilt, consumers should look for organic bulk dark chocolate. Organic chocolates are rich in antioxidants and are great for everything from a quick snack to delicious brownies.
Bulk dark chocolate is certainly an acquired taste, as it is the most bitter of the chocolate group. However, lovers of white chocolate may have some healthier options as well. According to food blog Gluten Free on a Shoe String, raw cocoa butter is a health-conscious ingredient for anyone who wants to make their own white chocolate. As with dark chocolate, the nutritional value comes from the cocoa bean itself.
Chocolate no longer needs to be the guilty pleasure people hide under their bed. If you know the right labels to look for, chocolate can be more than just good for your soul, but good for your body as well!