Every time a new study comes out extolling the health benefits of certain antioxidants in chocolate, giddy TV reporters assure us it’s fine to chomp down a few extra chocolate candy bars.
The truth is not as sexy.
The healthy compounds in chocolate are destroyed the more it is processed. This means that your best bet for health benefits is nibbling on cacao nibs, which are very bitter to the untrained palate.
The next best thing is dark chocolate, but it comes with high levels of saturated fat, sugar and calories. That’s why dietitians recommend a tiny square as a serving, instead of half a package. The least beneficial, if at all, is the standard milk chocolate, which is high in sugar and saturated fat, but low in healthy antioxidants.
If you are a chocolate fan, you may be happy to learn that scientists have recently discovered the mechanism that unlocks chocolate’s health benefits. Apparently, human’s gut bacteria also has a “sweet tooth”. When cocoa passes through the intestines, our good bacteria gobble it up and release anti-inflammatory compounds into the body.
To enjoy these health benefits, your best bet is a small amount of dark chocolate, or even better – a sprinkle of cocoa powder into your smoothie or oatmeal. Do not buy a Twix bar for its health benefits.