Chocolate can be bittersweet, and we don’t mean literally. Although chocolate has many benefits to your health, some facts about how chocolate is made may make you want to munch on a different snack, or at least lower your chocolate intake.
- Dark chocolate has more cacao (the beans that chocolate are made from) and less sugar than other chocolates, so it is considered healthier than milk and white chocolate.
- Dark chocolate contains lots of antioxidants that help the cardiovascular system by reducing blood pressure
- Eating dark chocolate widens arteries and promotes healthy blood flow that can prevent the buildup of plaque that can block arteries.
- Eating dark chocolate every day reduces the risk of heart disease by one third.
- Flavonoids found in cocoa products have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-clotting effects that can reduce the risk of diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity.
- The smell of chocolate increases theta brain waves, which trigger relaxation.
- Chocolate can cause headaches and is not recommended in large doses for people who suffer from migraines or chronic headaches.
- Because chocolate contains high doses of caffeine and sugar, chocolate products are largely to blame for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in children.
- In the U.S., most consumer chocolate comes from cocoa farms. Unfortunately, many cocoa farms have unsafe working conditions, unfair labor wages, and child labor trafficking.
- According to research by Tulane University in 2010, 1.8 million children ages 5 to 17 were forced laborers on cocoa farms across the Ivory Coast and Ghana. 40 percent of these children were not enrolled in school and only 5 percent of them were paid to work. UNICEF projects that 35,000 of these children are victims of trafficking.
- Fair Trade Certified chocolate says that no forced abusive child labor is used, but Fair Trade chocolate represents less than 1 percent of the $66 billion chocolate market.
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Sources: All Chocolate, Cocoa Asymposium, Ezine Articles, USA Today, Global March