We here all kinds of comments about Chocolate, from it making you fat to causing acne or you can't eat it because your Diabetic but, most of us just Love it! Does it have any nutritional value or is it something to sneak and devour in secret or only on those special occasions? I really thought this article by Sara McGrath of Nutrition Suite 101 gives sweet consideration to the question. Enjoy!
People, particularly women, report specific cravings for chocolate, which may signal a nutritional or medicinal need. Chocolate contains several essential minerals and nutrients including iron, calcium, potassium, vitamins A, B1, C, D and E. Cocoa powder is the highest natural source of magnesium.
According to Nutritiondata.com, a one-ounce serving of dark chocolate contains 19 percent of the US recommended daily allowance of iron.Chocolate, Menstruation, and Pregnancy Dark chocolate contains a high level of magnesium, which is essential for calcium absorption, which in turn reduces the muscle cramps common during menstruation (premenstrual syndrome) and pregnancy. Magnesium relaxes the uterus (and other muscles), reducing the chance of premature contractions during pregnancy. Magnesium is also used as a treatment for constipation, which can also contribute to menstrual cramps.
Magnesium is necessary to build and repair tissues and to regulate insulin and blood sugar levels. Additional sources of magnesium include nuts, seafood (safe seafood during pregnancy), and green vegetables. Sufficient magnesium helps reduce nausea and vomiting, the symptoms of morning sickness.
Chocolate and Caffeine Chocolate contains a mild stimulant, caffeine-like substance called theobromine. Theobromine is not the same as caffeine and sources differ on whether theobromine carries the same risks during pregnancy as caffeine.
Theobromine can reduce blood pressure and works as a diuretic increasing urine output, which many women already consider an issue during pregnancy. According to the March of Dimes, small amounts of caffeine appear safe during pregnancy. Chocolate contains significantly less caffeine-like substance than coffee, tea, and soda.
Chocolate also contains the mood elevating elements seratonin and phenylethylamine, which the human brain releases when people feel happy.
Chocolate and Flavonoid Antioxidants The flavonoids (polyphenol antioxidants) in dark chocolate can lower high blood pressure, which is especially important during pregnancy. The flavonoids also increase blood flow to the brain and protect cells from damage by environmental toxins. Antioxidants may prevent preeclampsia and reduce the risk of birth defects. Additional sources of antioxidants include fresh (preferably organic) fruits and vegetables.
Unsweetened cocoa powder contains the highest level of beneficial properties, followed by high cocoa content dark chocolate. Milk chocolate and white chocolate contain significantly less nutritional value, significantly more carbohydrate (sugar), and milk may actually negate the health benefits of chocolate.
Like any carbohydrate (sugar-containing) food, chocolate consumption warrants moderation. However, dark chocolate can play a part in a healthy diet. It can provide medicinal as well as nutritional benefits through its potential to prevent or treat high blood pressure, magnesium deficiency, preeclampsia during pregnancy, premature birth, and birth defects.
and try some. It is delicious and good for you.
Indulge...In Your Health!