bouche avec rouge à lèvre rouge croquant dans une tablette de chocolat

Is chocolate good for your health?

Tasting chocolate : a delight for the senses, a comfort for the soul, but also a source of benefits for our health? Of course ! But what exactly is there in this sweet temptation to which the French succumb almost every day and which could be beneficial for us? Let's explore together the mysteries of chocolate, its different types, and the many benefits it can offer.

Because this sweetness, which is also called "met of the gods", by its evocation of feelings of happiness and satisfaction offers much more than a taste pleasure according to science. When your favorite treat offers to pamper you, why not take advantage of it? Guilty pleasure or health treasure? We reveal everything to you!

Dark chocolate bar artistically broken into pieces

1. Learn a little more about chocolate

1.1. A population of gourmands

According to recent statistics, nearly 97% of French people give in to the temptation of chocolate at least once a week, with an average annual consumption of 7.3 kg per inhabitant, or a quantity of 20 grams of chocolate per day! So that’s around 4 squares of chocolate that each French person eats per day. In France, dark chocolate wins the prize of popularity, with 30% of French lovers preferring this variety richer in cocoa. Chocolate must now not only be good in taste, but also for the body and for the planet. Plant origin, unsweetened options, natural and additive-free as well as sustainability and traceability are now among the demanding expectations of consumers when they want to enjoy chocolate.

1.2. Which chocolate to choose? The different types

From the cocoa bean, and depending on what it is mixed with, it is possible to obtain 3 types of chocolate:

  1. Dark chocolate: Considered the preferred choice of nutritionists, dark chocolate contains a high cocoa content, minimum 43%. It is richest in cocoa. It consists of cocoa paste made from crushed cocoa beans and cocoa butter, a vegetable fat made from cocoa beans, as well as a sweetener. The higher the amount of cocoa, and more precisely cocoa mass, the richer the chocolate is in flavonoids and magnesium, thus offering a variety of benefits. In fact, cocoa butter is not the most nutritionally interesting cocoa compound.

  2. Milk chocolate: Creamier and less intense in flavor than dark chocolate, milk chocolate contains at least 25% cocoa. Cocoa mass and cocoa butter are mixed with milk powder and sugar, providing a smoother experience in the mouth. However, milk chocolate should be consumed in moderation due to its sugar content.

  3. White chocolate: Although less rich in cocoa, although it must contain at least 20%, white chocolate remains an option appreciated for its sweetness. It consists of cocoa butter, milk or powder and a sweetener. But there is no cocoa paste. At Reborn Paris , we have an exquisite new white chocolate-raspberry flavor that will delight your taste buds!

1.3. Is it okay to eat dark chocolate every day?

Dark chocolate, because of its many virtues, can be consumed freely, but reasonably. You can enjoy chocolate at a rate of 2 squares of dark chocolate per day (~10g). Others, which are sweeter, should be enjoyed sparingly as part of a balanced diet so as not to spoil the health benefits of chocolate.

It is advisable to enjoy chocolate at the end of a meal, so that hunger does not come into play, only pleasure, this helps to avoid excesses.

2. What health molecules does chocolate contain?

The compounds in chocolate that are interesting for the body are found in cocoa, and not in sugar and fat. It is therefore logical that dark chocolate is the most concentrated in substances with health benefits.

You should know that consuming 100g of 70% dark chocolate covers 20 to 50% of a person's daily needs for magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and iron.

2.1. Fibers

The fibers present in dark chocolate contribute to good digestive health and can help regulate intestinal transit.

2.2. Methylxanthines: caffeine, theobromine, theophylline

Methylxanthines are chemical substances with tonic, stimulating and anti-stress properties.

  • Caffeine :

    • Content : Around 0.4% in dark chocolate.

    • Stimulating, promotes awareness and attention.

  • Theobromine :

    • Content : Around 1.6% in dark chocolate.

    • Stimulating and bronchodilator, helps open the airways.

  • Theophylline :

    • Content : Variable.

    • Stimulant and bronchodilator, similar to the other two methylxanthines in its effects on the nervous and respiratory system.

2.3. Polyphenols

  • Flavonoids :

    • Content : Around 0.80% in dark chocolate and 0.50% in milk chocolate (vs. 0.30% in green tea and 0.15% in red wine). 1 square of 70% dark chocolate contains as many polyphenols as a long-steeped cup of green tea.

    • Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory, protect cells against oxidative damage.

  • Tannins :

    • Content : Variable depending on the type of chocolate and the % cocoa

    • Antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, contribute to protection against cardiovascular diseases and premature aging.

    2.4. Minerals

    • Magnesium :

      • Content : Around 112mg per 100g of dark chocolate.

      • Antidepressant, euphoric, helps regulate stress and maintain a stable mood.

    • Potassium :

      • Content : Variable depending on the type of chocolate and the % cocoa

      • Helps regulate blood pressure and the functioning of muscles and nerves.

    • Fluorine :

      • Content : Variable depending on the type of chocolate and the % cocoa

      • Contributes to dental health by strengthening tooth enamel and preventing cavities.

    • Phosphorus :

      • Content : Variable depending on the type of chocolate and the % cocoa

      • Essential for bone health and energy production in the body.

    • Iron :

      • Content : Variable depending on the type of chocolate and the % cocoa

      • Contributes to the formation of red blood cells and the transport of oxygen in the blood.

    • Copper :

      • Content: Variable depending on the type of chocolate and the % cocoa

      • Promotes the formation of connective tissues, bones and blood vessels.

    2.4. Vitamins

    • Vitamin PP (Niacin) :

      • Content : Variable depending on the type of chocolate and the % cocoa

      • Contributes to energy metabolism and healthy skin, nerves and digestive system.

    • B group vitamins :

      • Content : Variable depending on the type of chocolate and the % cocoa

      • Essential for nutrient metabolism, energy production and nervous system health.

    • Vitamin E :

      • Content : Variable depending on the type of chocolate and the % cocoa

      • Antioxidant, protects cells against damage caused by free radicals.

    2.5. Amino acids

    • Tryptophan :

      • Content : Variable depending on the type of chocolate and the % cocoa

      • Precursor of serotonin, promotes relaxation, reduces anxiety.

    • Theanine :

      • Content : Variable depending on the type of chocolate and the % cocoa

      • Promotes relaxation, improves concentration and reduces tension and anxiety

    2.6. Other compounds

    • Phenylethylamine :

      • Content : depending on the type of chocolate and the % cocoa

      • Mood regulation, stimulating effect and natural antidepressant.

    3. What are the health benefits of chocolate?

    Chocolate, this guilty pleasure often associated with gluttony, actually hides a multitude of benefits for our body and mind. Let's dive into the depths of cocoa to discover the health treasures it contains when consumed.

    3.1. Energy boost and awakening

    Dark chocolate is a natural source of caffeine , known for its stimulating properties in scientific studies. By promoting alertness and concentration, caffeine helps energize the body and mind, providing a welcome energy boost during moments of fatigue.

    3.2. Anti-stress and relaxation

    Theobromine , another compound abundant in dark chocolate, acts as a natural relaxant by soothing muscle tension and promoting relaxation.

    This molecule, combined with caffeine , creates a subtle balance between stimulation and relaxation , thus providing effective relief from stress and anxiety.

    Dark chocolate contains magnesium which, thanks to its antidepressant and euphoric properties , allows it to act as a powerful ally against stress . By stimulating the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, phenylethylamine and tryptophan, it promotes relaxation , reduces anxiety and helps maintain high morale even in tense situations.

    Its tryptophan content also boosts the body's production of serotonin for a de-stressing and soothing effect.

    Theanine also helps improve relaxation .

    This relaxation is reinforced by the antidepressant properties of phenylethylamine present in dark chocolate.

    3.3. Mood relief

    Have you noticed or thought you felt a feeling of well-being when biting into a square of dark chocolate? This is not an illusion. The combination of fat and sugar increases your body's secretion of endorphins with pain-relieving and soothing properties. And then, a treat that tickles the taste buds necessarily provides a feeling of well-being

    The presence of various substances in dark chocolate, such as theobromine , tryptophan and phenylethylamine , helps regulate mood and promote emotional well-being. According to scientific studies, these substances act on neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin (happiness hormone) and dopamine (pleasure hormone), thus inducing feelings of happiness, satisfaction and relaxation.

    3.4. Antioxidant protection against premature aging of the skin and brain and reduced risk of cancer development

    Polyphenols, such as flavonoids and tannins , found in dark chocolate, play a vital role in protecting cells from oxidative damage. By acting as antioxidants , these compounds neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress, thus preventing premature aging , whether of the skin or the brain, and strengthening the immune system . They also help reduce the risk of developing cancer . These antioxidant substances are also known for their anti-inflammatory properties.

    3.5. Cognitive improvement: memory and concentration

    Polyphenols like flavonoids , as well as caffeine and theobromine found in dark chocolate have been linked to improved cognitive functions, such as learning , memory , attention , and intellectual performance . By helping blood flow to the brain, these compounds increase the influx of oxygen and essential nutrients to brain cells, improving mental abilities and clarity of mind . Ideal before an exam or an important test where memory and concentration are essential!

    Additionally, dark chocolate contains theanine , which has positive effects on concentration and productivity according to studies.

    Dark chocolate is also rich in magnesium , a mineral essential for healthy brain function .

    For all these reasons, chocolate would also help in the fight against age-related cognitive decline (Alzheimer's), through its ability to improve and preserve memory.

    3.6. Improved sleep

    Thanks to magnesium, chocolate rebalances the sleep/wake balance and helps you sleep better . This effect is reinforced by its power of relaxation and thanks to the improvement in mood due to the increase in serotonin. This is why it is good to eat chocolate in the evening.

    3.7. Improved sports performance

    Chocolate reduces stress and therefore the rise in cortisol which is responsible for cramps and declines in performance. By improving blood circulation thanks to flavonoids, it also promotes the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles.

    3.8. Improved cardiovascular health

    The flavonoids in dark chocolate are recognized by studies for their beneficial effects on cardiovascular health. By increasing the vasodilation of blood vessels , these substances help to lower blood pressure and improve blood circulation , preventing clotting and the risk of clot formation and thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and heart attacks.

    3.9. Lowering cholesterol and preventing atherosclerosis

    Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids which limit oxidation of “bad” cholesterol responsible for atherosclerosis (lipid deposits on the internal wall of the arteries leading to their sclerosis).

    3.10. Improved skin health

    Beware of preconceived ideas: dark chocolate does not cause acne attacks. On the contrary, it contributes to good skin health thanks to vitamin E and flavonoids , powerful antioxidants which protect the skin against damage caused by free radicals and UV rays ( photoprotection ). They therefore help protect the skin from premature skin aging and wrinkles by preventing dehydration , loss of density and loss of elasticity . These antioxidant substances also help regulate excess sebum to avoid imperfections and help with healing . Ultimately, your daily indulgence can help you maintain a youthful, glowing appearance of skin.

    Moreover, at Reborn Paris, we have decided to increase the effects of chocolate on the skin with a new product rich in collagen, hyaluronic acid and elastin.

    3.11. Maintaining good tooth health

    If chocolate contains very little or no sugar, it does not increase the risk of cavities. On the contrary, thanks to fluoride , it prevents dental problems such as cavities .

    3.12. Reduced risk of developing diabetes

    Flavonoids improve insulin sensitivity, which may be useful in reducing the risk of developing diabetes. If you are already diabetic, sugar-free chocolate is strongly recommended.

    3.13. Improved intestinal transit

    The fibers naturally present in dark chocolate act for healthy digestion and regulate intestinal transit . By stimulating bowel movement and helping eliminate toxins, these fibers help maintain a balanced digestive system and prevent gastrointestinal disorders.

    In conclusion, dark chocolate, with its rich cocoa content and many beneficial nutrients, is a wise choice for those looking to combine pleasure and well-being. However, it is important to consume all varieties of chocolate in moderation, taking into account their amount of sugar and fat. So, the next time you indulge in a square of chocolate, enjoy it guilt-free, knowing that you're giving your body more than just a treat: a real boost for your health! Chocolate can also be cooked: discover our irresistible chocolate zucchini cake recipe here .

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