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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2008-05-23

Chocolate-The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! I can't think of many things much better. This was actually a post I wrote a couple of months ago but as I was a new blog back then and did not have many readers I thought that I would publish it again because discussing the benefits of chocolate is high on my priority list. I mean even if you are one of those perfect nutrition health nuts (I'm talking to you Christopher) you still have to enjoy yourself and why not lift your spirits and see the benefits of eating one of the tastiest and most gratifying foods ever created (I love whoever created chocolate-bless them). If you are a chocolate lover like me, this should cheer you up!

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.

**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

23 comments:

Jennifer Robin said...
I love dark chocolate; never could stand milk. I guess my taste buds knew what was good for me!
Liza said...
i love chocolates and i prefer the dark ones. snacking on this could be very beneficial. i have posted 3 articles about chocolates too over at moms... check nyo.

another great post from healthnut wannabee ;)
Sherer said...
Health Nut, Your making me hungry! Now I feel better about chocolate consumption- it truly is a gift from God
Sandpiper said...
I love dark chocolate. I wish I could eat as much as the average American, but my waistline wouldn't it very much. LOL
Polly said...
I love dark, dark chocolate - the higher the strength the better - but when eating really black chocolate you cannot eat too much as it does have a tendency to cause headaches. So that helps me stick to my two square a day. lol - That's a good job otherwise I would really be tempted to eat a tad more.
Da Old Man said...
I know I have read that chocolate is a vegetable, so 5 servings a day is about perfect.

:)
ssgreylord said...
I loved the connection between chocolate and euphoria as well as the comment about it having the same soothing effects as marijuana. Nice. What more could you ask for?

P.S. How do you know all these big words (phenolic, esophageal, theobromine)? I can barely say them let alone use them in a sentence.

Impressive as always.
Sandy C. said...
Mmmmmmmm...chocolate :) Those pros look like they far outweight the cons to me :)
Erica said...
A topic that's near and dear to my heart! :) Great post - very interesting and informative. Thanks!
David Tamayo said...
One of the happiest days of my life was when the announcement was made by credible medical authorities that chocolate, primarily the dark variety, was good for you. Keeping a positive frame of mind is so much easier when you have simple things like chocolate to help focus your intent. (Even better when those things are actually good for you.) Another great post. Take Care.
BillyWarhol said...
I am actually eating Chocolate Ice Cream right now - this is too Bizarre*

;))
Ana said...
I love chocolate and I would not know how to exist without it. Although I prefer the one with milk fillings over the dark ones (also if it's not that healthy :-)
john b said...
I love chocolate! Thanks for the info.
Pentad said...
Mmmmm. I love a handful of dark chocolate pieces and raisins. ;o)
Tom Parker said...
Great list. My snack of choice is usually cheese and crackers. I'm not the biggest fan of chocolate personally.
Barry said...
Whats wrong with caffine? People act like it is un-natural or something.

I prefer dark chocolate myself.
Mooney ♥ said...
Dark chocolate is most definitely my favorite! I love how I can have a few small pieces, be totally satisfied, and NOT feel guilty! Yay for dark chocolate... hehee.
Cynthia said...
I love dark chocolate... and have even been known to savor a piece of 100% cacao chocolate with a little peanut butter on top to sweeten. One of my favorites is Lindt 85% dark. I try to have a square per day.

Satisfying and good for you!
osoth said...
sweet chocolate with cheer soccer:

The Second Time of Champion
http://vonline.info/?p=79
Robin said...
Hi Heidi, I am a chocolate fan. I used to think it could cause acne, if you ate to much. Thanks for the interesting information on this wonderful treat. :-)
Crayons said...
Hi Wannabee,
I really like the passion that fills this blog. You must be a great mom to be taking such great care about what your children eat.

Thanks for visiting my blog. It's fun to get a comment from someone I've not "met" yet.
Tamara said...
I love this blog. This post is great. I have been making a shake with raw cacao beans, banana, agave nectar and almond milk. It is simply divine.
Have a great day.
Tamara
Chocolate Boy said...
Hi Heidi, You know, "chocolate is my friend" Oh yes, When I get more pressure from my boss, my desktop used to fill with chocolate to get relax and work fast....
It is very nice to hear about such a great friend (chocolate) of mine.
I love chocolate,

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