Most Americans love chocolate. In fact, the average American consumes 11.7 pounds of chocolate per year. That is a lot of chocolate! With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I am sure chocolate is on everyone’s mind. During Valentine’s week, 58 million pounds of chocolate is sold.
So with all those chocolate roses, boxes of chocolates, and chocolate hearts, is it really healthy for us? Depends on the type of chocolate. There are types that are better for our health and have more positive health benefits, like Dark Chocolate.
Dark chocolate is by far better than most chocolates… choose organic ones with at least 70% of cocoas solids to get the most health benefits. With more cocoa solids than milk chocolate, dark chocolate is often lower in fat, sugar and calories. Dark chocolate is loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants, which can protect the body from damage. These include polyphenols, flavanols, catechins, among others.
How can chocolate help my health?
Chocolate can help with…
- High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
- According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, eating approximately 30 calories per day of dark chocolate was linked to blood pressure reduction and without causing weight gain. A blood pressure reduction of 3-mm Hg could slash the risk of fatal strokes by 8%.
- Cardiovascular benefits
- Chocolate good for your heart? Yes, researchers at University California San Francisco found high levels of cocoa flavanols enhance the circulation of angiogenic cells, which are important for repairing vascular damage and maintaining blood vessel health.
- High Stress levels
- I knew stress-eating chocolate was a good idea, well in moderation. Dark Chocolate can influence the metabolism and lower the amount of stress hormones in the body.
- Improve Brain function
- Cocoa full of high-flavanol can improve blood flow to the brain and can help with cognitive function.Improve Brain function
Before we all run to get more chocolate, keep in mind that it is still loaded with calories and easy to overeat. Everything within moderation, but adding a bit of chocolate in our healthy eating habits isn’t a horrible thing. Just beware of the amount. Perhaps take one piece and savor it, not necessarily eat the whole box of chocolates in one sitting.
Questioning if you need more chocolate or how can help you personally? Just ask your fellow chiropractor or sit down with one of our docs at Gonstead Family Chiropractic for more info.
Enjoy and have a Happy Valentine’s Day this year.