For a few calls from my chocolate customers, I asked “how much chocolate can I eat.” People consume chocolate for breakfast, breakfast, lunch, and before dinner and after dinner because of the creativity of the chocolate industry. We eat about 12 pounds per person per year. Women eat more than men, and historically this was done to show appreciation and give gifts to impress women.
Most of us love chocolate and the good news is it can be good for you. It contains flavonoids found in cocoa beans. The primary flavonoids in cocoa and chocolate are flavanols with antioxidant properties.
There are different types of chocolate that contain different amounts of cocoa and flavanols. For the most generous amounts of high-cocoa chocolate, eating blisters or dark chocolate over milk chocolate is the best option. The higher the percentage of cocoa in the chocolate, the higher the usefulness and nutritional value. For example, an average person serving 65% dark chocolate might look something like this (these are estimates, as the actual number will vary depending on the brand, size, etc.):
Total fat 15 grams, sat. Fat 9g, Sugars 16g, Protein 3g.
By comparison, an average serving of 99% dark chocolate would look something like this (these are estimates, as the actual number will vary depending on the brand, size, etc.):
Total fat 22 grams, sat. Fat 14g, Sugars 2g, Protein 5g.
Remember, chocolate can be bittersweet – too much of a good thing can pull your scales aside. Limit yourself to 2 or 3 grams per day, this will add between 300 and 450 calories to your diet. You want to cut calories or boost your workout with some other foods.
Red wine also contains antioxidants with similar health benefits. It contains resveratrol as well as flavonoids. Resveratrol is found in the skins of grapes, berries, and other fruits. Reds are rich in health benefits, but in the case of chocolate, the wine you choose will determine whether you drink fruit or the size of a flute.
Cabernet topped the list for sauvignon flavonoids, followed by Petit Sehra and Pinot Noir. Both Merlots and Red Zinfandels have fewer flavonoids. In general, the sweeter the alcohol, the fewer flavonoids. The dry red liqueur is the best choice for the highest flavonoid content.
The health benefits of chocolate and wine are still being studied, although research to date indicates the following:
• helps to lower blood pressure
• Helps maintain healthy arteries that are relaxed and flexible, increasing blood flow.
It can also be:
• Reduce insulin insensitivity and reduce the risk of diabetes.
• Create a greater feeling of fullness and reduce cravings for sweet and savory foods.
• Contributes to heart health by reducing “bad” cholesterol and raising “good” cholesterol. Antioxidants also have positive effects on blood flow that can prevent heart attack or stroke by reducing the risk of blood clots.
• Prevents neurological disorders by helping to block plaques that are believed to damage brain cells and contribute to Alzheimer’s disease.
• Inflammation and tissue damage caused by gum disease.
Enjoy food: Enjoy foods that give you pleasure. Just remembering moderation is key. You do very well or cancel the benefits you get from tasting chocolate and red wine.