Heidi

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Mom, desperately trying to get the health thing right! I started this blog so that I can pass along all the great things that I learn everyday on damage control for our wonderful bodies. It is tough to keep up sometimes with all the things going on in our daily lives so hopefully some of the helpful hints that I provide can make your life easier and healthier. I welcome your comments and tips as well! I am a vegetarian, animal rights advocate and avid animal rescuer.
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2008-03-16

CHOCOLATE-THE GOOD,THE BAD AND THE UGLY


I love chocolate!! I mean that I really, really love chocolate, so I decided to find out a little bit more about the the good and the bad to know what I was up against. Life without chocolate for me would be dark indeed so I am glad to see that there are some terrific benefits.

Chocolate Pros

**If you eat chocolate, only eat dark chocolate-Dark chocolate has many beneficial polyphenolic bioflavanoids that have powerful antioxidant properties, which can actually help to protect you from damaging oxidative stress. (This is good news-definitely cheers me up a bit)

**Chocolate contains the same type of disease-fighting "phenolic" chemicals as red wine and fruits and vegetables, says Andrew Waterhouse of the University of California at Davis.

**Boosts brain chemicals More Americans crave chocolate than any other food. Some explanations: chocolate's "melt-in-the mouth" consistency and mood-lifting chemicals such as caffeine and theobromine. And when mixed with sugar and fat, chocolate appears to boost "feel-good" chemicals in the brain (endorphins and serotonin), thus promoting euphoria and calm. Some women use chocolate candy to "self-medicate" for premenstrual syndrome, studies have found.

**Doesn't cause acne. Giving up chocolate won't cure acne or pimples, according to a famous test at the University of Pennsylvania. In the test, 65 acne-plagued adolescents ate the amount of chocolate in 1 pound of bittersweet chocolate a day for a month. For another month, they ate a dummy chocolate bar. Their acne was no worse on the real chocolate than on the fake chocolate.

**Helps lactose intolerance .Chocolate makes milk easier to digest if you are lactose-intolerant. Researchers at the University of Rhode Island found that adding 1 1/2 teaspoons of cocoa to 1 cup of milk blocked cramping, bloating and other signs of lactose intolerance in half of 35 subjects. Cocoa stimulates lactase enzyme activity, they found.

**Also, researchers at the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego recently found that chocolate contains anandamide, a chemical that mimics marijuana's soothing effects on the brain.

**Tests show chocolate contains antibacterial compounds that may discourage, not promote, tooth decay.

**No link to hyperactivity -Some contend that eating chocolate (or sugar) causes hyperactivity, aggression or other behavior problems, notably in children. But several scientific studies have found no evidence of that. In fact, some research finds sweets calm many children.

**Tastes really, really good!

Chocolate Cons

**Chocolate's greatest crime is that it usually is combined with animal fats, dangerous trans-fats and sugar in high-calorie, bad-fat baked goods.

**Can cause heartburn. Chocolate is a common culprit in heartburn, according to tests by Donald O. Castell, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania. The reason: Chocolate contains concentrations of theobromine, which relaxes the esophageal sphincter muscle, letting stomach acid squirt up into the esophagus. If you suffer from heartburn, he advises, go easy on chocolate.

**Does contain caffeine. Most people have no negative reaction to small amounts of caffeine. If you're sensitive, you should know how chocolate stacks up with caffeine sources:
5 oz. brewed coffee has
85mg caffeine
5 oz. loose tea or 1 tea bag, 30mg
6 oz. cola, 18mg
1 oz. chocolate candy, 6mg
5 oz. cocoa or hot chocolate, 4mg
6 oz. chocolate milk, 4mg

Fun Fact

The average American eats almost 12 pounds of chocolate a year. World chocolate consumption rises 3 percent a year, while cocoa bean production rises just 1.5 percent. To avert an eventual shortage, growers are working to increase production. http://www.usaweekend.com/98_issues/980607/980607eat_smart_chocolate.html

Best,

Heidi








5 comments:

Pushans said...
Great stuff. Will surely visit your site regularly as I love the health tips. Thanks a lot for all the information.
Kathleen B. said...
Thanks Heidi,

I love dark chocolate too. One square a day for me. Thanks for your article. I actually didn't know it would help lactose intolerance. Thanks!
Kathleen
massageforadults.blogspot.com
Natural Woman said...
I love chocolate too. I'm trying not to have any this week as I'm trying to lose some weight. Joy. Joy.
Enjoying Life said...
I love chocalate, especially good European chocolate. I really don't mind dark chocolate because it is much healthier for me. If I can eat something that good for me and it tastes great, I can't go wrong!
Cynthia said...
Love dark chocolate. The 85% Lindt bars are quite good. I try to have a square a day.

Speaking of which, I just ate my square. Logged it in my fitness software, it's about 52.5 calories, 1g protein, 4.5g fat and 2g carbs.

The trick of course is stopping at one!

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