The Nutrition In Chocolate

People tend to talk about chocolate and its nutritional facets and in the end, people tend to conclude that because of its many ingredients that are not considered healthy, chocolate then is also not nutritious. However, this popular notion may not be entirely true.

Chocolate, according to some, contains certain nutrients. These nutrients are good for the body provided that they are eaten in small amounts only. After all, anything taken excessively is not always ideal. Excessive amounts of chocolate in your system can be harmful to your health and can even cause the build up of cholesterol and fats and this, as we all know, cause weight gain. Bear in mind, that if you must eat large amounts of chocolate, you have to “balance it out” with other food.

Chocolate contains stearic acid, a type of saturated fat that is commonly found in cocoa butter. Of course, saturated fat is not healthy. However, compared to other types of fat, stearic acid does not increase your blood cholesterol as rapidly. In fact, stearic acid may even help your heart.

The protein in chocolate is another reason as to why this sweet stuff can be healthy for a person. Generally, chocolate bars contain three to four grams of protein and we know that protein is helpful to the human body.

The antioxidants found in chocolates (flavanoids) are also found to prevent cancer as well as thwart age-related diseases. Flavanoids can also accordingly lower blood cholesterol levels and help keep the blood levels at normal rates.

Did you know chocolates also have copper, calcium and magnesium? Most, if not all, people probably do not know that chocolate has these ingredients!

One has to familiarize him or herself with the various types of chocolates, to know what’s good and what’s not. Compared to other types of chocolate that have too much saturated fat, dark chocolate is popularly known to contain the “ideal ingredients”.

Given these facts, people’s outlook on chocolates has changed. Instead of labeling it as purely junk food, chocolate may now be considered as health food. This is because of the ingredients of chocolate that actually carry good results for the human body. These ingredients can help with heart problems, blood pressure and other health-related concerns.

Hence, to partake of chocolates is not bad after all! Health junkies need not stay away from them and people with that sweet tooth need not give them up. Chocolates can be healthy. Just remember to eat them in moderation.

Carbohydrates, Sugars And Cholesterol

Vegetables and fruits are rich in nutrients, low in calories and high in fiber. Diets high in vegetables and fruits meet vitamin, mineral and fiber needs without adding a lot of calories. Diets rich in vegetables and fruits have been shown to lower blood pressure and improve other cardiovascular disease risk factors.

The American Heart Association continues to recommend the following to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease:

Consume an overall healthy diet
Aim for a healthy body weight
Aim for recommended levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides
Aim for a normal blood pressure and blood glucose level
Be physically active
Avoid use of and exposure to tobacco products
Drink alcohol in moderation

A healthy diet includes:

Eating a variety of whole (fresh, frozen, or canned) vegetables and fruits
Eat more deeply colored vegetables and fruit such as spinach, carrots, peaches and berries (they tend to contain higher amounts of vitamins and minerals than others such as potatoes and corn)
Choose whole fruits over juice most often (whole fruit contains more fiber)
At least half of your grain intake should come from whole-grain foods
Reduce intake of beverages and foods with added sugars (primarily to lower total calorie intake and to get enough of the nutrients your body needs)

Recommended servings per day for a healthy person needing 2,000 calories each day includes:

6 to 8 servings of grains (at least half of the servings should be whole-grain foods)
8 to 10 servings of vegetables and fruits (about cup counts as a serving)

Cholesterol:

Cholesterol is an important part of a healthy body, however, high levels of cholesterol in the blood, is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, which leads to heart attack. Typically the body makes all the cholesterol it needs, so people do not need to consume extra to get enough.

Some of the excess dietary cholesterol is removed from the body through the liver. The American Heart Association recommends that you limit your average daily cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams. If you have heart disease, they recommend limiting your daily intake to less than 200 milligrams. Everyone should remember that by watching how much cholesterol they take in each day can help significantly lower total dietary cholesterol intake. Especially watch foods high in saturated fat.

Regular physical activity is helpful in increasing HDL cholesterol in some people. Higher HDL cholesterol is related to a lower risk of heart disease. Physical activity also helps control weight, diabetes and high blood pressure. Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for heart disease.

Tobacco smoke is among the six major risk factors of heart disease. Smoking lowers HDL cholesterol levels and increases the tendency for blood to clot.

Source: American Heart Association

Disclaimer: *This article is not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any kind of a health problem. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Always consult with your health care provider about any kind of a health problem and especially before beginning any kind of an exercise routine