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Chocolate-The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Posted Aug 24 2008 3:44pm

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



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

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