Saturday, December 13, 2008

When Dark is Beautiful

If there’s one thing in this world that I wouldn’t give up, it’s probably dark chocolate. (Actually, it’s just one of those things.) That silky, smooth, satin-like sensation is so incredible and satisfying that no one in this world could ever ruin that moment. It’s first-class comfort at the tip of your hands. It’s either you want to have another piece of it or save it for another day. But you won’t be able to resist having another one, right?

My mom once bought a popular brand of chocolate. Since it is written “special dark” on the label, she thought that this chocolate is a real dark chocolate. . But it’s all about marketing. They know that dark chocolate has good amounts of flavonoids (one of the antioxidants), so they joined the bandwagon. After tasting it, my teeth became so sensitive I thought I need to go to the dentist. The chocolate was so sweet that I need to flush it out with a glass of water and even brush my teeth. It was disgusting.

When buying chocolates, always choose dark but read the label and the nutrition information before buying a really good real dark chocolate. Look for dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa. And most chocolate companies have now discovered to make dark chocolate that keeps up to 95% of its flavonoids. You just have to search for them.

Here are a few reasons why dark chocolate is good for you:

Chocolate improves your mood. Chocolate contains hundreds of different chemicals (the good ones) and they are endorphins, phenylethylamine and serotonin. These feel-good chemicals act like anti-depressants on the brain.

They contain a good source of fat. Although they contain saturated fat in the form of 35% stearic acid and 25% palmitic acid, a good proportion is 35% oleic acid, which is a monounsaturated fatty acid, found in olive oil and known to have positive effects on cardiovascular system. Its principal lipid, stearic acid, a saturated fat, is only weakly absorbed into the body, where it is partially transformed (about 15%) into oleic acid by the liver.

They contain nutrients. Cocoa bean is rich in vitamins B1, B2 and D, as well as essential minerals magnesium and iron.

They are a good source of antioxidants. They contain flavonols and polyphenols, antioxidants found in various plants that help to protect the body from damaging molecules called free radicals. Flavonols (also found in berries, fruits, vegetables and red wine) have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system. Polyphenols (also found in green tea) are also capable of exercising beneficial effects on some chronic illnesses, including cancer and cardiovascular disease. But in order for dark chocolate to be beneficial, they should contain about at least 70% cocoa mass.

It’s a good alternative to coffee. Cocoa does not give you the caffeine buzz. It keeps the mind alert without the nervous disturbance but at the same time it helps you to calm down because of its magnesium content.

It’s good for the environment. Cocoa is the seed of a rainforest tree, so growing it helps support the endangered rainforest areas. It can also be good for the farmers whose income depend on that land. Just make sure to look for chocolates labeled “fair trade certified.”

Chocolate is “divine”. Need I say more?

So, when you are feeling run-downed, depressed or the world is on your shoulders, have a piece of dark chocolate (in moderation), close your eyes, take a deep breath, relax and allow the chocolate to melt in your mouth and release those burdens away even for just a few moments.


  1. Say no more....I'm going right now to whole Foods buy the chockies,Thank you for remind me the wonders of chocolate. I really need the extra endorphins, phenylethylamine and serotonin. And who knows, I might even bake some chocolate chip cookie. ;-)

  2. @ Anna- that sounds good Anna. Chocolates could be really tempting. I remembered that I even went to the grocery store at 12 mn just to buy some chocolates. :)


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