How Much Magnesium Should A 75 Year Old Woman Take Dark Cannot Be So Bad

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Dark Cannot Be So Bad

As the benefits of exotic foods and drinks like wine and dark chocolates unfold, many people are flocking to these foods. Non-drinkers are tempted to drink, and non-chocolate aficionados are beginning to hunt for top brands, all in an effort to improve their health. Not only that, but chocolate addicts and alcoholics seem to legitimize their indulgences. Only when the facts need to be straightened out.

Chocolates contain over 400 different compounds. Researchers have found that chocolates, especially the dark variety, contain phenolic compounds called plant secondary metabolites. These phenolic compounds are also found in other fruits and vegetables, wine and tea, etc. Secondary plant metabolites are also known for their special health benefits, including antioxidant activity, prevention of bad cholesterol oxidation, anti-cancer effects, lowering blood pressure and inhibiting platelet activity and inflammation.

They also strengthen the immune system. Other benefits of chocolate include its mood-enhancing and stress-relieving effects. Chocolate is thought to boost serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain. These are largely due to substances called ethylamine. The mild “melt-in-your-mouth” consistency combined with caffeine can also help improve mood.

No wonder women use it as a solution to their premenstrual stress! Chocolate contains a significant amount of caffeine and a 100 gram bar of dark chocolate contains more caffeine than a cup of instant coffee. Chocolate also provides magnesium and iron. Magnesium is good for the bones and helps control cravings. The scientific name for the cocoa tree is The Drinking Chocolate. While all cocoa powders, dark chocolate, white chocolate and milk chocolate come from the cocoa tree, the difference in their composition and processing gives them their unique characteristics.

Cocoa beans when cracked are called nibs. These are ground into powder and the heat generated melts the fat. The suspension is called chocolate liquor. To make cocoa powder, the fat is extracted and the remaining solids are dried into a powder called cocoa. Cocoa powder is low in fat and provides the same benefits as dark chocolates.

Chocolate liquor can be solidified with cocoa butter, without adding sugar, to form unsweetened chocolates also called dark or bitter chocolates, often also called deluxe or continental chocolates. Dark chocolates have a higher percentage of cocoa solids, at least 75% with a little added sugar. In unsweetened dark chocolate varieties, cocoa solids can be as high as 98%. These are the varieties that have been used in research studies and shown to be beneficial for heart protection and health.

Chocolate liquor can be mixed with sugar and fat to produce plain sweet chocolate also used for cooking, or it can be processed with sugar, milk and cocoa butter to produce milk chocolates. These have a very high sugar content – up to 50% – and only about 20% cocoa solids. Plus, it can contain up to 5% vegetable fat instead of cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is a neutral fat and does not raise blood cholesterol levels. However, in excess, it can lead to unwanted weight gain and associated complications. White chocolate is purely cocoa butter, sugar, flavor, milk and contains no special health benefits unlike dark chocolates.

So the next time you treat yourself, be sure to opt for the higher percentage of coca solids, skip it if the label says hydrogenated fats. Remember, you get about 500 calories in a 100-gram bar of dark chocolate, and you can get most of the “vegetable secondary metabolites” benefits from brightly colored fruits and vegetables for just a fraction.

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