Many have been written about the health benefits of chocolate. What is true? Maybe is it just marketing? The truth is that chocolate is really high in polyphenols, or to be more accurate, cocoa beans are high in polyphenols.
Chocolate is quite processed food.
As a rule of thumb, it’s better to avoid highly processed foods. But chocolate, along with coffee is part of our lives for many centuries now.
So, if you are a chocolate lover, what should you do?
Health benefits of polyphenols
Polyphenols are mainly present in plants and they are powerful antioxidants. Polyphenols can help us against chronic diseases and they have powerful anti-aging properties.
More about the health benefits of polyphenols here.
Polyphenols in chocolate
Chocolate is made out of cocoa beans.
There are many different types of chocolate, depending on the percentage of cocoa.
Cocoa percentage is of huge importance.
You better prefer chocolate with cocoa percentage higher than 70%, in order to benefit from polyphenols and other nutrients.
If you like bitter chocolate, you can try chocolate with 85% cocoa.
A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed the 100 richest dietary sources of polyphenols.
You can see all the 100 polyphenol-richest foods are here.
In the 4th place, we found cocoa powder with 3448 mg of polyphenols per 100 grammars of product.
In the 8th place, dark chocolate follows with 1664 mg of polyphenols.
Additionally, both cocoa powder and dark chocolate are rich in antioxidants.
Avoid white and milk chocolate
Milk chocolate or white chocolate contains a very low cocoa percentage.
Practically, it doesn’t contain many cocoa particles in order to benefit you.
In the study of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, we can see that milk chocolate contains only 236 mg of polyphenols per 100 gr of product.
Even worst is the chocolate beverage with milk. It contains only 21 mg of polyphenols with no antioxidants at all.
The less the percentage of cocoa particles, the higher the sugar content.
Tips to boost polyphenols in chocolate
Avoid completely milk chocolate, white chocolate, or any chocolate with a percentage less than 60%.
Prefer the dark chocolate of 85% cocoa. It contains fibers, many minerals, and of course a large amount of polyphenols.
According to a study, the consumption of cocoa, tea or coffee could easily increase the daily polyphenol intake by 500–1000 mg.