Posts Tagged ‘flavonoids’

Is Eating Chocolate Healthy?

A lot of health products are pretty controversial but chocolate probably tops the list. There’s been new study after new study, each raises doubts on the finding of the previous. The problem is that we all naturally crave sweet things and if we’re told that chocolate is good for us then we’re more than willing to believe it.


The main reason chocolate often makes the health news is that it contains flavonoids (a class of phytochemicals). Flavonoids have been found to improve the circulatory system plus they are also antioxidants which remove free radicals from our bodies.

For some people this is enough evidence to continue eating bars of chocolate every day. However in reality chocolate also contains fat and sugar which somewhat outweighs any benefits you may enjoy from the antioxidants. Plus there are much healthier sources of antioxidants such as tea, fruit and vegetables which don’t contain fat and sugar.

That’s not to say you should deny yourself some chocolate from time to time. I often have a few squares when I’m out walking at the weekends, I just avoid eating any during the week.

Sugar and Fat can be Good?

Ideally you should stick to eating complex sugars but simple sugars can still help give you needed energy when you need it, for instance when cycling or running long distances. Fat can also regulate some hormones in the brain and give us a boot of energy.

There are many types of fat, the type that’s in chocolate is a saturated fat called stearic acid. Normally you should avoid saturated fat as it increases “bad cholesterol” however stearic acid may actually help lower it.

In addition to the above reasons, chocolate also contains the following…

  • Chocolate contains 10-30% less caffeine than coffee but that may actually be a good thing. Apparently a small amount of caffeine can be good for you.
  • Theobromine is related to caffeine and is a mild stimulant and helps us stay alert and give us a positive outlook to life. Is it any wonder that so many people are chocoholics?
  • You’ve probably already heard about Serotonin and how it can help elevate your mood. Well, chocolate contains Tryptophan which is a precursor to serotonin. Chocolate is also thought o help you release endorphins which is normally associated with exercising.

Whatever you do, don’t go rushing out to buy loads of chocolate thinking you can help improve your health. A little amount as a treat is fine, just don’t go crazy.