Valerie Lull, MH
One of my favorite indulgences is chocolate. However, if you want to receive the health benefits you have to be careful what kind of chocolate you eat and how much. Emerging research seems to indicate that chocolate has a number of healing properties and may actually be good for you when taken in the right form and in moderation. Chocolate is chucked full of good things like flavonoids that reduce inflammation, phytosterols that help cholesterol levels, and antioxidants that reduce free radicals. There are so many things that are good about chocolate I could write several blogs on the subject. Today I will hit the highlights.
Antioxidant – Antioxidants are substances that fight free radicals. Free radicals are atoms that have an electron missing and can damage your cells DNA. The antioxidants provide the missing electron and stabilizes the molecule. The damage free radicals can do can be the start of processes that lead to cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Cardiovascular Problems – According to recent research chocolate can help coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, high cholesterol, plaque deposits on artery walls and obesity.
atural Stimulant – Eating chocolate can produce a boost of energy both physically and mentally. This is partly due to the caffeine content and partly due to theobromine. Theobromine is an alkaloid in cacao that also can provide a boost of energy.
Cognitive Function – Cocoa is good for your mind. The flavonols in chocolate may help with cognitive decline.Flavonols can reverse age-related cognitive decline by increasing the strength of the connections of the neurons in your brain that aid in maintaining memory.
Mood Booster – There is a chemical reaction with chocolate called anandamide that blocks feelings of pain and depression temporarily. Some researchers call it bliss. Some evidence seems to show that it also sweetens up your love life.
Gut Bacteria – The good bacteria in your gut love to feast on chocolate. They turn it into anti-inflammatory compounds that fight inflammation, another underlying cause of chronic diseases like heart trouble, cancer and Alzheimer’s.
Some guidelines – Don’t use this information as a reason to run down to your market and chow down on candy bars. There’s way too much sugar in them. If you want to eat good chocolate choose the dark chocolate with at least 70% cacao. It has less sugar and the higher the cacao content, the more health benefits you will reap. Eat only 1-2 squares a day. As the old saying goes, “all things in moderation”. If you are still worried about sugar content you can get cacao in capsule form and take a few each day. Cacao in capsule form can be purchased on the internet, your local health food store, or by mail order.You can also get benefits from hot coco, or from cacao beans that have been dipped in chocolate
To learn other ways to stay healthy go to my web site www.valerielull.com It is OK to have a chocolate treat if it is done with thought, care and moderation.