Happy Holidays! Thru New Year’s Day BrightonYourHealth will mark the festive occasion with how you can sip and savor the season the French way: guilt free and pleasure full. Last week’s article was on wine, women and weight control, and today’s is on chocolate’s health benefits. As always, I am grateful for your support and sharing the articles. Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday.
Chocolate Health’s Benefits Inspired by Living in Le Chocolat France
Le Chocolat, the French word for chocolate, sounds seductive when you pronounce it. Lay-Shhawkolot. Listen to this word, chocolat, doesn’t it wet your appetite to have a bite or two? The French (and most Europeans) love chocolate; there is this admiration for this delicate and simple healthy indulgence. Just next door to France is Switzerland, a country which holds the record for most pounds of chocolate consumed per person, a whopping 19.7 pounds/person yearly. Maybe the Swiss love their chocolate because it is so good, not to put down American chocolate, but European chocolates from Switzerland and Belgium are to die for.
Back here in France a small piece of flat chocolate like in the picture is enjoyed as a regular treat or complement after lunch with a small café (coffee). French children eat chocolate inside a piece of baguette (oh la la) as part of the afternoon goûter. Chocolate is enjoyed with an even greater indulgence during the holidays and there is nothing to feel guilty about this pleasure: eating small amounts of chocolate, with preference dark chocolate, have several health benefits, including helping with stress and increasing well being, two main reasons to eat chocolate in December!
If you enjoy chocolate I give you the green light for holiday indulgence, because a high cacao chocolate (especially dark chocolate) is on my list of healthy foods to eat in moderation.
Note: This type of flat plain chocolate you see in the picture, (or flat piece with some addition of nuts or raisins) is the best health choice compared to chocolate bars like Snickers, Mars or Milky Way. Health benefits of chocolate are the highest in dark chocolate! (Read why later).
Chocolate’s Health Benefits: 10 Health Reasons to Indulge
- High in Magnesium, a mineral that helps with stress and muscle relaxation
- High in Flavonoids, which help lower blood pressure and decrease risk of a stroke
- Stimulates ‘Happy Hormone’ Endorphin Production, which can ‘brighten your mood’
- Contains Serotonin, which aids in increasing well-being
- High in Poly-phenol Antioxidants, which can decrease cancer and cardiovascular risk
- Helps with Blood Sugar Control: dark chocolate has a lower glycemic index than oatmeal
- Lowers Cholesterol, has Anti-Clotting Effects and Prevents Plaque Formation in Blood Vessels, lowering heart disease and stroke risk
- Increases Blood Flow to the Brain, which increases alertness and slows the effects of brain aging
- Slows Hunger Cravings which improves weight control
- Protects against Blood Inflammation
Sources of this article come from:
- 11 Reasons Chocolate is Good For You
- Heart Healthy Benefits of Chocolate
- Chocolate: Pros and Cons of this Sweet Taste
- 7 Proven Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate
Why does Dark Chocolate have the most health benefits?
Eating dark chocolate gives you the most health benefits because it contains more cacao per weight than milk or white chocolate. Cacao comes from roasted cacao seeds and is the main ingredient linked to chocolate’s health benefits. When choosing your chocolate, pick one that contains at least 50 % cocoa. Keep in mind though that the higher the percentage of cacao in a chocolate piece, the more bitter is the taste of the chocolate. I believe that chocolate should be eaten for its pleasurable taste and not because it is healthy, so taste and choose a good quality high cacao chocolate. My two favorites are Swiss brand Lindt dark chocolate with sea salt and Lindt dark chocolate 70% . (I include my two favorites here with a link if you don’t have access to purchase where you live). Lastly, substituting a piece of chocolate for another type of snack is my recommendation. I like to eat a piece of chocolate late in the afternoon when I need a pick me up, it is a better choice than a cookie or higher processed snack. I find eating a small piece of dark chocolate keeps me going, stops hunger, and keeps my blood sugars balanced. Let me know how you like your chocolate.
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