Cocoa and chocolate are important sources of energy: with their concentration of calories in a small volume, cocoa and chocolate are among the most concentrated vegetable energy suppliers. That’s why they are one of sports peoples’ favorite foodstuffs for recuperation after intense training.
Chocolate contains a combination of sugars and fats that can make you feel good during and after consumption. Relevant scientific studies show increased feelings of satisfaction among the majority of consumers.
Cocoa and dark chocolate contain no cholesterol. Milk chocolate and white chocolate contain only minimal quantities due to the added milk fats.
Cocoa and chocolate provide a true treasury of minerals: copper, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, calcium. For example: 100g milk or white chocolate contains between 20 and 40% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of calcium.
Certain polyphenols in cocoa and chocolate are thought to have an anti-oxidant effect, just like the polyphenols in red wine. Studies on this are proceeding apace and show promising results. For example the flavonoids present in cocoa may counteract the oxidation which turns good cholesterol (HDL) into bad cholesterol (LDL). Scientists even suggest that cocoa flavonoids might have a stronger anti-oxidant effect than the flavonoids found in red wine. Cocoa polyphenols may also protect the body against substances which damage the immune system, causing rheumatism and arthritis. Many of these studies were carried out in Japan, and additional research will be needed before definitive statements can be made. Scientific studies show that certain polyphenols in cocoa may render harmless the free radicals which affect DNA in body cells. In addition, they may neutralize other free radicals which cause cancer. Further research is needed into these scientific indications.
Cocoa and chocolate contain stearic acid. This unique saturated fatty acid has a neutral effect on the production of LDL or “bad” cholesterol, even with daily moderate consumption. The same studies show that the stearic acid in chocolate can promote the production of moderate quantities of “good” cholesterol in some test subjects.
Cocoa mass contains around 15% soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Dietary fiber has an important function in supporting the passage of food through the gut and keep the gut and stomach walls clean.
Milk chocolate and white chocolate can be regarded as important sources of calcium and proteins. Callebaut’s milk and white chocolates contain around 14-30% milk solids. This equates to 4-8g of protein per 100g of chocolate, or 15%-25% of the RDA.
Milk – one of the main sources of calcium in our diet – is declining in popularity among large numbers of growing children and adults. However, we need calcium to keep our teeth and bones strong. According to scientists, the use of chocolate and cocoa as natural flavorings for milk can play a role in countering this trend.
Cocoa and chocolate contain very minimal quantities of caffeine and theobromine. Scientists believe these substances have a stimulating effect on the human body. The amounts found in cocoa and chocolate are so small, though, that there is still no consistent evidence for these effects.
Regular, moderate consumption of chocolate fits perfectly into the context of a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle that combines taste with health.