Is chocolate good for you? How much can you eat in a day?

It has always been talked about: the debate is about the effects on the heart and mood and the right doses of consumption. Big differences between the various types (on weight and health). Word to the expert

The debate on chocolate is restarting from England: is it good or bad? The topic was dealt with in an extensive article that appeared in BBC Future (scientific in-depth section of the BBC) and traces the history of this food from its beginnings to the most recent studies. We talked about it with Mauro SerafiniProfessor of Food and Human Nutrition at the University of Teramo, who has dedicated studies to cocoa, and therefore also to chocolate, which have appeared in various scientific journals, from Nature to Frontiers of Nutrition And Frontier of Immunology.

Does chocolate have real positive heart health potential?

This is certain: the effect due to the high prfree of antioxidant flavonoids in degree of
lower the pressure
, especially in those with hypertension. The flavonoids act by safeguarding the endothelium, the tissue that protects the vessels, also favor the dilation of the arteries, reduce the aggregation of platelets and exert an effector antioxidant. But to have these effects the flavonoids and cocoa must actually be there and this is not true for all “types” of chocolate.

It means that there is chocolate and chocolate …

Absolutente s. In white chocolate there are just no flavonoids, on the other hand there is an abundance of sugar and butter. In the milk one the percentage equal to 50 percent, in the dark chocolate the percentage rises up to 100 percent of the extra-dark one, which not everyone likes, let’s say that a percentage of cocoa of 70% represents a good compromise.

In addition to the heart, is it true that chocolate also has positive effects on mood?

Cocoa contains Theobromine – the chocolate plant and Theobroma from the Greek Theo meaning god, and broma food – which activates the circuits of pleasure and reward. Moreover, this would be to cause that addiction to chocolate that many speak of, but which has never been scientifically proven.

Another always debated topic concerns the doses of chocolate. In the article cited we talk about research that even suggests a consumption of 100 grams per day to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke …

The daily doseThe recommended period resulting from the intervention studies remains the same as always: no more than 10 grams per day, in practice a “clamp”, the small square of a tablet. Let’s not forget that high-calorie chocolate due not to the cocoa content, but to that of fats and sugars,especially for milk chocolate. One hundred grams per day are exaggerated because we must then bring everything back to the daily energy consumption and the intake of fats and sugars. Certainly one way to take on the benefits of cocoa without running into problems of excess energy is cocoa beans. (HERE all the benefits)

When did the debates on cocoa begin?

I would say from ancient times: the Spanish conquistadors used it simply by adding it to water as the natives did – who considered it an invigorating – without considering it very pleasant and doubting its effects.

Was it not, therefore, immediately appreciated?

The astringent taste was perplexing, but to make it more pleasant it could be taken in the form of a drink, but with the addition of sugar or various spices. However, the first chocolate shops began to spread in Europe only after the early 1600s; first, as expected, in Spain and, gradually, throughout Europe. Curiously, Switzerland, considered the homeland of chocolate, was among the last European countries to appreciate this product.

Why do you begin to like it?

On the one hand it was a question of status: it was expensive and was therefore the prerogative of kings and nobles. Drinking chocolate meant being rich and powerful, but we also began to understand that cocoa could have an effect.This is an energizing and functional capacity, so much so that it was offered to soldiers after the battles. It was also supposed to have some aphrodisiac power, alone Nowadays it is understood why: its ingestion involves the production of nitric oxide which acts on the walls of blood vessels by dilating them, promoting blood circulation.

BBC Future devotes ample space to the case of the Kuna Indians, Panama and Colombia, whose habit of drinking huge quantities of chocolate, far from damaging their health, invigorates it. How come?

proof that cocoa is good for you?

This is a well-known case at the studiosthe. The Kuna Indians drink twenty to thirty cups of “chocolate” a day and, even in old age, do not suffer from hypertension and have a low risk of heart attack and stroke. Butas always, when it comes to nutrition, it is necessary to evaluate all its components and the lifestyle that accompanies it, given the certainly less stressful life of the natives, relativizing the results.

Can you explain better what you mean by lifestyle and relativizing the results?

To begin with, the chocolate that the Kuna Indians drink is made simply of cocoa and water, no sugar. And then, in these populations, the consumption of fruit is double that of, for example, Americans and four times that of fish, and the lifestyle is much more active, as the BBC Future article correctly notes. It is difficult to attribute the good health and longevity of these populations to chocolate alone, which certainly has a role, but not the only reason.

September 15, 2022 (change September 15, 2022 | 07:56)

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Is chocolate good for you? How much can you eat in a day?

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