Chocolate Italian style. Health benefits of chocolate

 

I’ve just got back from the annual chocolate festival in our local town. Handmade chocolate goodies, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, with nuts, with fruit, lollipops, everything a true choc fan could ever dream of.

Best of all though, for me anyway, is the hot chocolate,Italian style. If you’ve never tasted that dense, chocolatey heaven in a cup topped with a dollop of sweet whipped cream, you haven’t lived. It’s just the thing to warm you up on a cold, frosty day. Better in moderation not every day.

That said though, a little chocolate every day has health benefits. Only dark chocolate though.

Did you know that a 100 gram bar of dark chocolate with a content of 70-85% cocoa has:

67% of the RDA for Iron.

58% of the RDA for Magnesium.

89% of the RDA for Copper.

98% of the RDA for Manganese.

It also has plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium and even 11 grams of fibre.

I’m not suggesting that you eat 100 gr every night though, it’s high in calories so best eaten in moderation for maximum benefits.

In short, dark chocolate is:

  • A powerful source of antioxidants
  • It may improve blood flow and blood pressure
  • It may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • It may lower the risk of a stroke, according to Finnish researchers
  • It contains flavonols which are good for the skin against the sun, not as a replacement for slapping on the old sun cream though.
  • It may improve your brain function.
  • It reduces “bad” cholesterol and increases “good” cholesterol.
  • It may improve insulin sensitivity and so delay or prevent the onset of diabetes, ONLY in moderate quantities.

For all these benefits, how much should you eat? Well, you should eat small amounts, 14 to 28 grammes of good quality dark chocolate with at least a 70% cocoa content, daily.