There's plenty of misinformation circulating the internet when it comes to the health implications of eating chocolate. In actuality, much of the information is correct when it comes to a particular type and quality of chocolate, but is misleading when applied to cocoa products as a whole.
If the cocoa-to-chocolate process is natural and unprocessed, then the chocolate will keep its beneficial properties. There is nothing wrong with eating unprocessed milk chocolate, but if you're looking for the greatest health benefits, it’s dark chocolate you'll want.
Chocolate with a high cocoa content is packed with soluble fibres and minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper and manganese. As a result, good quality dark chocolate is one of the most nutritious foods you can find on the planet - even the fats in dark chocolate are good for you!
One of the most significant benefits of dark chocolate is its impressive antioxidant levels. There are plant pigments called flavonoids in cocoa beans that have fantastic antioxidant properties which, as long as the chocolate is produced naturally, have a multitude of benefits to those who consume it.
Another vital benefit of flavonoids is that they prompt your arteries to lower their resistance to blood flow. The resulting increase in blood flow not only reduces your blood pressure but can also, according to many studies, significantly reduce your chances of developing heart disease. Increased blood flow also makes skin more hydrated and dense, something that will heighten your resilience to sunburn.
You'll be delighted to hear that this same logic applies to the rest of the body. Studies show that the increased blood flow to the brain caused by eating dark chocolate enhances brain activity. In certain cases, it's even thought to improve mood and decrease the symptoms of depression, however very little research has been conducted on this. It has to be said that everything should be consumed in moderation, even chocolate, relative to your metabolism and calorie requirements. Despite the wide-ranging physical and mental health benefits, a 50g bar of chocolate can contain up to 300 calories, so we should still regulate our consumption (if you can resist)!
The fact is, we all know the culinary benefits of having chocolate in our house and we're all well aware of how delicious a snack it is. It's the health advantages of cocoa products that have been swept under the rug and, here at Islands, we feel it's important that people know the good they are doing for their body when they buy and use our chocolate.