"Chocolate contains up to four times the anti-oxidants found in tea." Sound too good to be true? In fact, that was the conclusion of a recent study by Holland's National Institute of Public Health and Environment. Researchers found that chocolate - specifically dark chocolate - contains 53.5 mg of catechins per 100 grams. (Catechins are the powerful anti-oxidants that fight against cancer-causing cells and help prevent heart disease). By contrast, 100 ml of black tea contains a mere 13.9 mg of catechins.
The Chocolate Paradox?
Eating chocolate to stay healthy? Well, why not? Scientists have established that there are important health benefits to be gained from drinking red wine, so why not chocolate as well? But I wouldn't trade my morning cup of tea for a box of truffles just yet. For one thing, as Karen Allen points out in a report for the BBC, the amount of actual cocoa powder contained in chocolates may be quite small. Chocolates often contain other ingredients, such as saturated fats, that more than outweigh the health benefits to be gained from cocoa's cancer-fighting chemicals.
More importantly, the Dutch researchers were not comparing chocolate to green tea, which is rich in catechins. Furthermore, evidence is mounting that scientists have only begun to discover the numerous health benefits associated with drinking green tea. Still, a cup of green tea with a chocolate biscuit or a piece of dark chocolate sounds like a great way to begin the day!
Update: Recent clinical studies examining the effectiveness of green tea supplements were based on the assumption that 14 cups of green tea contain 400 - 600 mg of catechins. At the low end, that would mean each cup contains just over 28 mg per cup, while at the high end, a cup of green tea would have approximately 42 mg of catechins. So, dark chocolate may actually contain more anti-oxidants than green tea.
Chocolate and Green Tea RecipesChocolate Fondue for Two - with Asian fruit dippers and Chinese Steamed Sponge Cake
Chocolate Dipped Fortune Cookies
Dofu Fa - soybean milk topped with sweet syrup. You can spice it up by adding grated chocolate.
Shrimp With Green Tea Leaves
Green Tea Chocolate Cake - a Japanese Dessert
Thai Fried Banana Dessert - dip into chocolate sauce for a decadent treat
Champurrado - a Mexican hot chocolate drink
More About Chocolate...The Health Benefits of Green Tea - whether or not it's better for you than chocolate, what is it that makes green tea so special?
Chinese Characters for Chocolate - from the About.com Guide to Chinese Culture.
Chocolate Timeline - Covers the history of chocolate beginning with its earliest origins (there is some thought that the Mayans were not the first to cultivate the cacao tree) through to the creation of the first chocolate bar, from About's Guide to Inventors.
Chocolate and Your Pets - what makes chocolate toxic to pets and what are the symptoms of chocolate toxicity to look for? From About's Guide to Veterinary Medicine.
Previous Page> Chocolate Health Benefits.Find out what it is that makes chocolate special, plus a look at chocolate's popularity in China and Asia.
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