Guilt No More Chocolate IS Good for You
The next time that chocolate craving hits and the guilty pang follows, kick it to the curb! When your friends and family give you the “you should be ashamed of yourself” look while you’re enjoying your favorite sweet treat, look at them and say “Chocolate is healthy and I’ll prove it to you.” After reading this article you’ll be able to do just that.
Chocolate really is healthy for you, but only if it’s the right kind and dark chocolate is the kind. Unfortunately, milk chocolate and white chocolate aren’t healthy. In August 2003, The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study conducted by Dirk Taubert, MD, PhD and others from the University of Cologne in Germany.
Guilt No More – Chocolate is Good for You
The study proved dark chocolate lowered could lower blood pressure when eaten in moderation. So, stuffing your face with a whole box of dark chocolate candy in one sitting is not going to work. Just as with any food, eating excessive amounts of dark chocolate is not healthy and could actually have a reverse affect.
The people in the study included six men and seven women, all aged between 55 and 64 years of age. All of the subjects had been diagnosed with mildly high blood pressure as well. Each of the subjects was treated to a 100 gram chocolate candy bar each day, for a two week period.
One important thing to note from the 2003 study is that dark chocolate will only assist in lowering blood pressure once someone has reached a certain age and the exact age is not known. However, to help narrow it down, the study only included men and women between the ages of 55 and 64 years old. All participants had also been previously diagnosed as having mildly high blood pressure.
Each of the thirteen subjects was given a 100 gram chocolate candy bar everyday for two weeks. Half of them were given dark chocolate bars and the other half ate either milk or white chocolate. Only those who ate the dark chocolate had lower blood pressure at the end of the two weeks. The average drop in blood pressure was five systolic and two diastolic points. Those who ate the milk or white chocolate saw no change in either number. If that isn’t good enough reason to eat dark chocolate, here’s more.
In 2003, Italy’s National Institute for Food and Nutrition reported dark chocolate contained antioxidants need by humans. Dark chocolate is actually on of the most powerful antioxidants that can be eaten. The antioxidants found in dark chocolate have been known to rid the body of free radicals that can cause cancer and destructive molecules that contribute to heart disease. This study was extremely important to those who think all chocolate is healthy because it proved that milk chocolate actually prevented the absorption of the antioxidants instead of releasing them into the body.
Made up of 7 women and 5 men between 25 and 35, this study was conducted with whole milk, 100 gram quantities of dark chocolate and 200 gram quantities of milk chocolate.
Many combinations of milk and chocolate we given to the participants and after extensive study, it was found that one hour after eating dark chocolate, without milk, those tested had a higher amount of antioxidants present in their blood. Those who ate milk chocolate or added milk to their treats showed low amounts of antioxidants in their system.
So, what is it about dark chocolate that makes it so healthy? The cocoa phenol found in the plants used to make the chocolate is the main healthy ingredient. Remember, this does not make it ok to gorge on chocolate – dark or otherwise.
In order to lose weight while eating dark chocolate you will need to exercise and cut calories in other areas of your diet due to the fact the chocolate contains a high number of calories. In fact, a dark chocolate Hershey’s bar contains about 530 calories. That is a lot of calories for a little 100 gram piece of food. What this means is that if you added one of these candy bars to your diet each day, without changing anything else, including other foods that you eat and the amount of exercise that you get, you would definitely gain weight and pretty rapidly too. Since it only takes 3,500 additional – unused – calories to gain a pound at that rate, you’d gain about one pound each week.
So, yes – dark chocolate in moderation is healthy – and you can prove it. However if you don’t burn off the extra calories you are consuming, you will have a weight problem before long, which brings a whole host of other health problems along with it. Furthermore, it isn’t wise to replace other healthy foods in your diet with the chocolate. If you do this, you may be losing out on other vitamins and nutrients that your body needs. In order to use chocolate for health benefit, increase the amount of exercise performed to help burn off excess calories.
So, are you ready to become a chocolate connoisseur? One last reminder, in order for chocolate to be healthy, it must be dark. The darker the chocolate the healthier it is. Also note that the richest, darkest chocolate is manufactured in Europe, not in America.