Not the time to think about ice cream cones on the go, but the season of chocolate eggs which, traditionally, are enjoyed with the family. Pages and pages have been written on the merits of chocolate, even if of course this does not authorize us to eat it in quantity. And, then, on Easter and its surroundings, how many eggs can you eat? Given that an Easter egg weighs from 150 to 300 grams, and the allowed daily quantity would, in theory, be at most 10 grams, and that it would be better to eat it no more than three times a week, it is clear that if you are alone, an egg, even small, it should be enough for weeks, explains Mauro Serafini, Professor of Food and Human Nutrition at the University of Teramo, who has dedicated a vast study to cocoa, and therefore also to chocolate, published in Frontiers of Nutrition e Frontiers of Immunology.
Better dark or white?
But which eggs to choose? Personal tastes come into play here, but it must be borne in mind that the precious element of chocolate is cocoa. In the milk one the percentage equal to about 50 percent, in the white one there is none, on the other hand there is an abundance of cocoa butter, milk and sugar. Cocoa – Serafini explains – precious for the content of polyphenols, known antioxidants, which play a positive role in defending us from cardiovascular diseases: heart attack and stroke. In fact, cocoa lowers blood pressure, especially in those with hypertension; it protects the endothelium, the tissue that lines the blood vessels and, in addition, promotes dilation of the arteries and reduces the aggregation of platelets.
The food of the gods
Less certain, even if numerous studies have been conducted on the subject, the possible advantages on a cognitive level and on the immune system. Chocolate also contains a substance, anandamide, similar to cannabinoids, which binds to the brain receptors for these psychogenic substances, giving a feeling of well-being which, together with the mild excitement induced by theobromine (the chocolate plant, Theobroma from Greek Theos, god, and joke, food ed), activates the pleasure and reward circuits. It would be this mechanism to cause that “addiction” to chocolate that many talk about, but whose existence has never been scientifically proven.
Pay attention to the label
To be sure that the chocolate is really dark – then explains Serafini – you have to take a look at the label: not only must there be cocoa in the proportions indicated above, but only cocoa butter must have been used and there must not be more than five grams percent sugar of product. In extra dark chocolate – which not everyone likes – cocoa even reaches 100 percent, also considering cocoa butter, essential for “binding” the product
In a cup or in tablets?
As for the most effective way to ensure the benefits of cocoa, chocolate in a cup, in bars, or eggs with high quality chocolate is better, preferable to cakes, puddings, ice cream and filled chocolates because the fat content is lower. There are always calories, so much so that a nice “bite” of a chocolate egg, of any “color”, contains about a hundred. To ensure the maximum benefit of the protective substances of cocoa, without “seasoning” them with fats and sugars, you should eat the roasted cocoa beans that are subjected to any industrial process.
At the end of the meal
Is it true that at the end of a meal, especially if it has been quite abundant, chocolate can help digestion? Possible given that it is rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances and could therefore reduce post-prandial stress due to an excess of calories, – concludes Serafini – but from here on recommending it as a digestive.
April 3, 2021 (change April 3, 2021 | 21:26)