Eat More Chocolate

948588_loveheart“Ms FeetUp, you can’t possibly need that whole block to yourself”

“Darling, you’re lucky I’m limiting myself to the one!”

I hear that comment quite often. One day I decided that I was tired of people commenting on my chocolate habit so I did some research. Did you know that chocolate is almost a health food?

Well, perhaps it isn’t quite as healthy as I’d like it to be but at least I can justify my obsession in the face of all those objections.   I have compiled this list of the benefits of chocolate so that you too can have a ready response next time someone looks snidely at your chocolate stash.

I should also mention that no chocolate was harmed in the process of my research although a few blocks were demolished.

The good things chocolate does for you:

  1. The Hershey Research centre did a study on cocoa vs. fruit powders. The results showed that chocolate has more antioxidants and flavonoids, especially dark chocolate.
  2. Chocolate is good for the mood.  It causes the body to produce endorphins, which stimulate the pleasure center of the brain. 
  3. Nutritionists say that chocolate is not fattening if eaten in moderation.
  4. Chocolate protects against heart disease and cancer. It’s all those little antioxidants in there that are doing you good.
  5. If you’re really worried about putting on weight , try drinking cocoa instead of eating chocolate, since it generally has a much lower fat content.
  6. There are properties in chocolate that reduce the likelihood of blood clots so that helps prevent stroke.
  7. Chocolate makes you live longer. Truly. If you don’t believe me, have a look at the study.
  8. It’s possible that chocolate helps ease the symptoms of menopause. Dark chocolate relaxes the body and can boost your immune system.
  9. We know that chocolate is essential for coping with PMS. Ask the many husbands who use it as a defence mechanism at that time of the month.
  10. Recent studies by Nestle say that chocolate can improve the health of the bacteria in your gut.

So, chocolate really can be good for your health.  I should point out that the research refers to dark chocolate which has a high content of antioxidants and other minerals.

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If you’d like some more technical detail, have a look at this.

Better Health Victoria lists the following nutrients and tells us how they help our bodies:

• Protein – needed for cell maintenance and repair.
• Fat – varies, but chocolate is generally 30–45 per cent fat, of which about half is saturated fat.
• Vitamin E – a fat-soluble vitamin essential for cell membranes.
• Calcium, phosphorus and magnesium – minerals essential for strong bones and teeth.
• Iron – needed to form haemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying compound in blood.
• Caffeine and theobromine – nervous system stimulants.
• Copper – assists iron metabolism, formation of melanin (in hair and skin) and functioning of the central nervous system.
• Sugars – varies, but often make up about 50 per cent.
• Antioxidant phytochemicals (such as flavonoids) – cocoa beans, the main ingredient of chocolate (particularly dark chocolate), contain more than 600 plant chemicals, including antioxidants, that may protect against heart disease and cancer.

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