Author: Patricia Bratianu RN PhD RH-AHG
By now, you may have heard that chocolate is good for you. News like that gets around fast! So, is chocolate really healthy or is it just a rumor (like if you eat a lot of calories on Sunday, they don’t count and you won’t gain weight)?
The great news is, yes, dark chocolate is very good for you! There are some caveats though. Let’s first examine what chocolate can do for you.
Chocolate can make you happy (as if you didn't already know that). It boosts levels of serotonin and dopamine which are chemicals within our brains that are responsible for positive moods.
Chocolate elevates endorphin levels. Endorphins make us happy and relieve pain. When we exercise, we feel good due to the release of endorphins. Dark chocolate releases the same chemicals that are produced during exercise.
Chocolate helps your body burn fat more efficiently, and can be part of a healthy weight loss plan.
Chocolate reduces inflammation. Inflammation is the culprit that causes pain, allergies and a multitude of other ills. Research links inflammation with development of heart disease and cancer.
Chocolate is rich in antioxidants and several other compounds that lower blood pressure and improve the health of our hearts and circulatory system. It improves circulation throughout our entire bodies.
Chocolate prevents formation of dental cavities.
Chocolate contains substances which enhance development of healthy sperm.
Chocolate is rich in plant compounds called flavenoids. Flavenoids protect our eyes from cataract formation and prevent age related changes throughout the body.
Chocolate contains substances that make people feel more loving.
So now you know how chocolate can make you healthy. No wonder its scientific name means “medicine for the gods”.
However, here are a few caveats you need to observe to reap the benefits of chocolate. Dark chocolate is the only chocolate that is good for you. Milk chocolate and white chocolate will not suffice. Dutch processed cocoa loses most of its nutrient value in the manufacturing process. Chocolate’s benefits are reduced in the presence of milk. Beware of chocolate that is rich in unhealthy fats and sugars.
Purchase organic, ethically grown chocolate that is not destroying endangered rain forests or exploiting the lives of the people who reside there.
One ounce per day of dark chocolate may help you to be happier, toned, experience less pain, and feel more loving. You may even have a nice smile and live longer. Dark chocolate is good medicine.