Thank you for this guest post just in time for Mother’s Day Shopping!
The other day my daughter was looking for a snack and asked “is there any chocolate in this house?” I smiled and replied “you are so my daughter.” I’ve been a chocolate lover for as long as I could remember. And now both of my girls are fans of the rich, sweet treat as well.
Yes, chocolate is full of calories and sugar. But, some chocolate, when eaten in moderation, can also deliver big health benefits.
Chocolate Supports Weight Loss. Studies have found that dark chocolate promotes satiety, so you feel fuller longer. In addition, it reduces cravings for sweet, salty and fatty foods. Eating chocolate can also enhance weight loss by about 10 percent, according to new research just published in the International Archives of Medicine.
For the study researchers divided volunteers into three groups. One group followed a strict low-carbohydrate diet. A second group followed the low-carbohydrate diet and also consumed 42 grams (about 1.5 ounces) of 81 percent dark chocolate per day. The remainder of the volunteers followed their regular diets.
The results showed that while both the low-carb and low-carb with chocolate groups lost weight, those in the chocolate group lost 10 percent more weight. Even better, the weight loss was maintained in the 3 weeks following the study, whereas the low-carb group saw the weight return.
Chocolate Lowers Risk of Stroke: Studies have found the consumption of chocolate is associated with a lower risk of stroke. In one study, over 37,000 Swedish men were tracked for over 10 years. It was discovered that the men in the study who ate the largest amount of chocolate, the equivalent of about one-third of a cup of chocolate chips per week, had a lower risk of stroke compared to those who did not consume any chocolate.
Chocolate Promotes Heart Health. Dark chocolate is rich in phenols and flavonoids, which help maintain normal blood pressure levels, keep your arteries healthy, and reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. One study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that eating about 30 calories of dark chocolate a day helped to lower blood pressure after 18 weeks, without weight gain or other adverse effects.
It’s important to note that these health benefits where found with dark chocolate consumption. Milk chocolate does not offer the same protection. Look for dark chocolate containing at least 70% cacao content. The higher the percentage of cacao, the higher amount of antioxidants per serving.
And, when it comes to chocolate, a little goes a long way. In these studies only a small amount was consumed. Chocolate is loaded with sugar, fat, and calories. So, moderation is key. Aim for a quarter to a third of a cup each week.
Also remember that the sweet treat has caffeine. And, the darker the chocolate, the more caffeine it holds. And, it contains another stimulant called theobromine which can cause sleeplessness. So, if you’re going to indulge, be sure you’ve got several hours until bedtime. Otherwise, you might find yourself unable to fall asleep.
University of Copenhagen. “Dark Chocolate Is More Filling Than Milk Chocolate And Lessens Cravings.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 December 2008.
International Press Release: Slim by Chocolate. Press Release. Institute of Diet and Health. Mar 2015
Larsson, SC, et al. Chocolate consumption and risk of stroke: a prospective cohort of men and meta-analysis. Neurology. 2012 Sep 18;79(12):1223-9.
Dirk Taubert MD, et al. Effects of Low Habitual Cocoa Intake on Blood Pressure and Bioactive Nitric Oxide A Randomized Controlled Trial ,JAMA. 2007;298:49-60.
Heptinstall, Stan PhD, et al. Cocoa Flavanols and Platelet and Leukocyte Function: Recent In Vitro and Ex Vivo Studies in Healthy Adults. Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, June 2006; 47:S197-S205
This article is written by Lauren Kent the writer for Nutri-Health.com, an online High Quality Health Supplements and Health Store. Assisting people and helping them find quality natural supplements and health products online is what Lauren has been doing for several years. Nutri-Health.com carries Digestive Supplements to Probiotics to Joint Health products.