My name is Cara and I’m a chocoholic.
It’s true. Unless something is terribly, dastardly, unutterably wrong, there is not a day that goes by in which I do not feed myself chocolate. Coffee and Chocolate: those would be my “If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only have two . . .” But I think I would probably beg for three and add pizza; and ranch dressing. For what good is pizza without cold, creamy ranch dressing drizzled over the melting cheese?
Hm . . . ten o’clock, huh? Too early for pizza, you think?
No. Chocolate. I’m here to discuss chocolate.
In my drawer there are Andes Mints. In my basket on the shelf there are Cookies & Cream Bites. In the mason jar on my desk there are Hershey’s Mint Chocolate Kisses and New York Peppermint Patties. And in the kitchen on the ledge there is a decanter filled with Dove Squares. While I still can’t figure out how to get the gingerbread to set on the bricks, I’m in pretty good shape over here. Well stocked, you could say. So, if ever you should find yourself in a bind, frantic and chocolateless, you just come right on over to Cara’s, and we’ll fix you right up.
Below is a plethora of extensive information geared toward the benefits of consuming a small amount of chocolate daily. There’s plenty of corroborated facts and doctory research, and it would certainly behoove you to go over it if you have some time. However, I personally think you’re good if you only read the next four sentences.
Next time you eat a piece of chocolate, you should not have to feel overly guilty about it.
Despite its bad reputation for causing weight gain, there are a number of health benefits associated with this delicious treat.
Chocolate is made from tropical Theobroma cacao tree seeds. The earliest use of chocolate dates back to the Olmec civilization in Mesoamerica.1
After the discovery of the Americas, chocolate became very popular in Europe, and its demand exploded.
Chocolate has since become an incredibly popular food product that millions indulge in everyday for its unique, rich, and sweet taste.
But what effects does eating chocolate have on our health?
The potential health benefits of chocolate
However, “today, chocolate is lauded for its tremendous antioxidant potential”.2
The potential benefits of eating chocolate include: loweringcholesterol levels, preventing cognitive decline, and reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems.
Chocolate may lower cholesterol levels
Chocolate consumption may help reduce LDL cholesterol levels.
A study published in The Journal of Nutrition was carried out to determine whether chocolate bars containing plant sterols (PS) and cocoa flavanols (CF) have any effect on cholesterol levels.3
The study authors wrote “results indicate that regular consumption of chocolate bars containing PS and CF as part of a low-fat diet may support cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol and improving blood pressure.”
Chocolate may prevent memory decline
Scientists at Harvard Medical School recommend drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day in order to keep the brain healthy and prevent memory decline in older people. The researchers said that hot chocolate can help preserve blood flow in working areas of the brain.4
The lead author, Farzaneh A. Sorond, said:
“As different areas of the brain need more energy to complete their tasks, they also need greater blood flow. This relationship, called neurovascular coupling, may play an important role in diseases such as Alzheimer’s.”
Chocolate may reduce heart disease risk
Consuming chocolate could help lower the risk of developing heart disease by one third, researchers from the University of Cambridge in England reported in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) and the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Paris, France.5
The authors concluded:
“Based on observational evidence, levels of chocolate consumption seem to be associated with a substantial reduction in the risk of cardiometabolic disorders. Further experimental studies are required to confirm a potentially beneficial effect of chocolate consumption.”
Chocolate may prevent stroke
Canadian scientists carried out a study involving 44,489 people and found that people eating chocolate were 22 per cent less likely to suffer a stroke than those who didn’t. In addition, those who had a stroke but regularly consumed chocolate were 46 percent less likely to die as a result.6
Recent developments on the benefits of chocolate from MNT news
Teens who eat lots of chocolate tend to be slimmer. Researchers from the University of Granada in Spain found that high chocolate intake among teenagers is linked with lower levels of total fat, compared to those who do not each much chocolate, even when accounting for other factors (including exercise).7
Risks and precautions
Chocolate has a high calorie count, containing rather large amounts of sugar. Therefore, if you are trying to slim down or maintain your weight, it may be a good idea to set a limit on your chocolate consumption. The large amount of sugar in most chocolates can also be a cause of tooth decay.
In addition, there is research suggesting that chocolate may cause poor bone structure and osteoporosis.
One study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was carried out to identify the relationship between chocolate consumption and bone density in older women.8
The authors concluded that “older women who consume chocolate daily had lower bone density and strength”.
So, if you didn’t already know, chocolate is GOOD for you! Hooray! Another fact and added benefit the article doesn’t mention is that eating chocolate makes you happy. Happy people are generally kind, relaxed, good-humored, and far less likely to throw up the bird when someone accidentally cuts them off. What are we waiting for?
Hot Chocolate Cake
For recipe and instructions, click here.
Happy Wednesday, Friends!