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Tune in today to find out about:
- What’s in chocolate?
- Is chocolate bad for you?
- Is dark chocolate better than milk chocolate?
What’s In ChocolateCocoa is made from the seeds of pods from the cacao tree. After the seeds are fermented, they are dried and roasted then ground to give us raw cocoa.
Cocoa has been around for thousands of years. The ancient Mayan and Aztec people called it the 'food of the gods', and used to drink a spicy drink called 'chocolatl', made from roasted cocoa beans.
The Aztecs introduced cocoa to the Spaniards, who introduced the hot cocoa drink the people in Europe but it was only available to the very rich because it was so expensive. Later in Victorian times, people developed the coca drink into a solid form and this is when chocolate was born.
Is Chocolate Bad For You?There has been a lot of research done around cocoa - recently Italian researchers discovered, eating flavonol-rich cocoa, or dark chocolate (71%), has been linked to improving memory, benefiting brain function and protecting the brain from cognitive decline. Flavanols come from flavonoids found in plants and have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Other foods rich in flavanols are apples, grapes, pears, tea and wine. Tannat (dry) red wine is best because it contains more flavanols that white.
Is Dark Chocolate Better Than Milk Chocolate or White Chocolate?Milk chocolate is the most common chocolate consumed. Besides the coca, milk chocolate also contains milk, sugar and plant oils. Milk chocolate contains around 40% cocoa, but milk, sugar and fat, ingredients are usually listed first. Even though the cocoa has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, the sugar and the milk can potentially cause breakouts in the skin.
Many people have a dairy intolerance and an intolerance to milk so milk chocolate can cause sensitivities in this people and for some it can cause breakouts and acne. Sugar is another problem. People with high sugar diets will develop glycation in the skin accelerating ageing. Glycation occurs when there is a high amount of sugar in the tissue, breaking down the collagen and elastin causing the skin to wrinkle and sag.
Sugar has also been linked to a gut condition called candida albicans. Candida albicans is a yeast overgrowth in the gut and sugar feeds this yeast. In fact, any foods that are broken down into sugar can cause problems with candida albicans such as bread, wine and fruits. People with candida albicans yeast infection often have breakouts in the skin and may even develop into acne. Cocoa in the chocolate is fine and provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits however the sugar and the milk in the milk chocolate is not so very good for the skin.
What about white chocolate? White chocolate has even more fat, sugar and milk so it's worse than milk chocolate for your skin. However dark chocolate is something you could enjoy. Dark chocolate has a higher amount of cocoa, a minimum of 70%. There are many varieties of options available and some dark chocolate can include 80%, 90% or even 100% cocoa. The more cocoa in the chocolate the more bitter the chocolate will taste because cocoa naturally has a bitter taste. Which is why they use sugar to sweeten the chocolate so it's more palatable.
So as you discovered chocolate, especially milk chocolate and white chocolate can cause breakouts in some people because of the milk and the sugar. Try to avoid white chocolate and you can enjoy milk chocolate occasionally and in moderation. If you wish to eat chocolate more frequently make sure it is dark chocolate which is a better option for your health and your skin.
Just as a side note, I have dogs as pets and have been advised by my vet that chocolate is poisonous to dogs. The darker the chocolate, the worse it is. They love the sugar and milk like humans do which is why they will eat chocolate if they find some, however, the cocoa is a poison to dogs. So keep chocolate away from dogs but especially the dark chocolate and consult your vet immediately if they have eaten any.