Cocoa and chocolate are important sources of energy: with their concentration of calories in a small volume, cocoa and chocolate are among the most concentrated vegetable energy suppliers. That’s why they are one of sports peoples' favorite foodstuffs for recuperation after intense training.
Chocolate contains a combination of sugars and fats that can make you feel good during and after consumption. Relevant scientific studies show increased feelings of satisfaction among the majority of consumers.
Cocoa and dark chocolate contain no cholesterol. Milk chocolate and white chocolate contain only minimal quantities due to the added milk fats.
Cocoa and chocolate provide a true treasury of minerals: copper, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, calcium. For example: 100g milk or white chocolate contains between 20 and 40% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of calcium.
Cocoa flavanols, the specific group of polyphenols which is present in cocoa, have been shown to have a powerful antioxidant effect, just like the polyphenols in red wine. For example the flavanols may help to prevent the oxidation of bad cholesterol (LDL). Oxidized LDL particles are considered as an important first step in the development of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Scientific studies show that cocoa flavanols may render harmless the free radicals which affect DNA in body cells. In addition, they may neutralize other free radicals which are involved in cancer development. Over the last years, new research in this area has been continuously published, in essence trying to unravel the mechanisms of action behind all described health beneficial effects seen after cocoa consumption.
Cocoa butter, and as a consequence also cocoa products and chocolate, contain stearic acid. This saturated fatty acid is unique in that way that it has a neutral effect on the LDL or “bad” cholesterol in the blood. While in general the consumption of saturated fats increase LDL concentration in the blood, stearic acid has a neutral effect.
Cocoa mass contains around 15% soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Dietary fiber has an important function in supporting the passage of food through the gut and keep the gut and stomach walls clean.
Milk chocolate and white chocolate can be regarded as important sources of calcium and proteins. Barry Callebaut’s milk and white chocolates contain around 14-30% milk solids. This equates to 4-8g of protein per 100g of chocolate, or 15%-25% of the RDA.
Milk – one of the main sources of calcium in our diet – is declining in popularity among large numbers of growing children and adults. However, we need calcium to keep our teeth and bones strong. According to scientists, the use of chocolate and cocoa as natural flavorings for milk can play a role in countering this trend.
Cocoa and chocolate contain very minimal quantities of caffeine and theobromine. Scientists believe these substances have a stimulating effect on the human body. The amounts found in cocoa and chocolate are so small, though, that there is still no consistent evidence for these effects.
Regular, moderate consumption of chocolate fits perfectly into the context of a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle that combines taste with health.