Chocolate As a Health Food?
In researching the recent fad of chocolate and Wine pairing, we became intrigued by a statement from one of its proponents stating that chocolate is a healthier choice than cheese to pair your favorite wine with. Obviously, we are big defenders of cheese here, but we did discover that chocolate has a lot of impressive health benefits.
Many of us were already aware that dark chocolate contains cancer-fighting anti-oxidants, but did you know that it contains more than red wine, tea, blueberries, or cranberries?
Chocolate is good for your heart too. The phenols in chocolate can help reduce the risk of heart disease and arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). The flavanols in chocolate help the body use nitric oxide, which is essential for healthy blood flow and blood pressure, so chocolate helps reduce high blood pressure as well. A study at the University of California Davis even determined that chocolate causes a reduction in blood platelet activity, which causes blood to clot. So eating chocolate can have an anti-clotting, blood thinning effect similar to low doses of aspirin that are very popular in the medical community these days.
Studies in the past have focused on the health benefits of dark chocolate, but Wheeling Jesuit University determined that consuming milk chocolate can benefit memory, attention span, reaction time, and cognitive problem solving ability. The increased mental performance is associated with theobromine and phenylethylamine, both of which are elements commonly found in Milk chocolate. So chocolate makes you smarter too!
Any chocolate lover knows that it makes you feel good. That may be one more reason many of us are prone to eat too much of it. But there is scientific evidence that eating chocolate stimulates the production of endorphins, which provide a pleasurable sensation similar to the one that runners get after jogging a few miles. (Eat chocolate or run? Hmmm…..) Chocolate even contains the neurotransmitter serotonin, that acts as an anti-depressant. A study in England also concluded that even just the smell of chocolate can lift your spirits. No wonder everyone who works in our store is always so happy!
So eating chocolate fights cancer, prevents heart disease, improves brain function, and makes you happy, and we have not even mentioned all of the vitamins and minerals it contains. But of course there is a caveat: the dreadful word that always pops up whenever we are discussing nutrition or healthy eating, “Moderation.” Consuming an overabundance of chocolate is not good for the waistline, which could defeat the purpose of all of the other health benefits outlined here. Too much sugar can also weaken the immune system and present risks for Diabetes if consumed regularly. So indulge in an amount that fits into a healthy daily calorie intake. Lastly, if you’re going to eat chocolate, make sure you indulge in the best. We recommend Heggys Chocolates.