Thursday, May 18, 2006
26 reasons why you SHOULD eat CHOCOLATE
Tip for the Day!
26 reasons why you SHOULD eat Chocolate! (not that you need an excuse)
This is from Looking Good Magazine, 2-06.
1. Rich, richer and richest! The delectable sweet is abundant in antioxidants (catechins and phenols) that may help prevent heart disease and cancer. These antioxidants slow down cell destruction by neutralizing free radicals (found in air pollution, cigarette smoke, etc) that cause cell damage, decreasing the negative effects of aging on the body and reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease. The antioxidants found in chocolate are the same ones found in green tea, red wine, orange juice, spinach, onions, corn, strawberries, bananas and apples.
2. Chocolate rules! Whereas tea was once the leader in catechins and phenols, dark chocolate actually contains four times that amount! One hundred grams of dark chocolate contain 53.5mg of catechins, 100 grams of milk chocolate contain 15.9 mg of catechins, and 100 ml of tea contain 13.9 mg. of catechins.
3. Love your chocolate, love your heart!
Chocolate contains the same phenols as red wine, phenols that have been found to protect against heart disease. A 1.5 oz. serving of your favorite chocolate sweet has as much phenol as a glass of red wine, but won't leave you feeling sleepy! The antioxidants present not only reduce the prescence of free radicals that damage cells and DNA, but also prevent fatlike substances in the bloodstream from oxidizing and clogging the arteries.
4. Not quite as good as veggies, but almost! Chocolate contains flavonoids- richly colored compounds that are naturally found in fresh fruits, veggies, herbs and other plants. These compounds can help maintain a healthy heart and good circulation, as well as reduce blood clotting. These factors contribute to the reduced incidence of heart attacks and strokes. Dark chocolate has been found to have nearly twice the flavonoids of red wine and up to 3 times the number found in green tea.
5. In a direct comparison of weight, milk chocolate has twice as many antioxidants as blueberries and dark chocolate has five times as many O.K. ... so we can't always pick chocolate over blue berries, but every now and then it's a good reason to say "o.k!"
6. Cocoa powder is virtually fat free! Need we say more?
7. The power of love in one chocolate bite! Chocolate contains phenylethylamine and tyramine, chemicals that produce feelings of love and contentment. Those aphrodisiac powers are for real! Phenylethylamine is a chemical related to amphetamines; it raises blood pressure and blood glucose levels, making us feel more alert, satisified and content.
8. Chocolate is a major source of dietary copper, a trace mineral essential for normal metabolic health and the possible prevention of Alzheimer's disease and osteoporosis. Dark chocolate is one of the highest single contributors to the mean daily copper intake.
9. Those cravings are for real! Chocolate contains compounds called tetrahydro-beta-cardolines, a group of chemicals taht may explain the "true craving" and addictive pleasure some experience with chocolate. In other words, it's not in your head!
10. CHOCOLATE WON'T KEEP YOU WIRED. While chocolate does contain the stimulants caffeine and theobromine, the amount of caffeine in a piece of chocolate candy is significantly lower than in coffee, tea or cola drinks. The average chocolate bar (1.65 oz) contains about 10 mg of caffeine and 92 mg of theobromine (compared to 80-100 mg of caffeine in 1 cup of coffee). Although the theobromine is a stimulant, it is a milk stimulant, with a mood-improving effect.
11. Chocolate will not clog your ateries! Stearic acid, the primary fatty acid in chocolate, does not increase the blood cholesterol level the same way other types of saturated fats do.
12. Don't deny those cravings- may be giving your body just what it needs! Chocolate and cocoa powder contain high levels of magnesium. Chocolate cravings during PMS periods may be associated with the desire to supplement low levels of this mineral in our bodies.
13. Chocolate is low in cholesterol A 1 oz piece of cheese (30 mg cholesterol) has more than double the cholesterol of a 1.65 oz bar of chocolate (12 mg cholesterol). Although you would not want to make a steady diet of chocolate (due to its high calorie and fat content), this is one more reason to love your chocolate guilt-free!
14. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is low in sodium With the recommended daily allowance for sodium ranging from 1,100-3,300 mg daily, a 1.5 oz dark chocolate bar could fit in quite nicely with a mere 5 mg of sodium. But beware of processed chocolate products (cookies, cakes, etc)... they're loaded with sodium.
15. Men can have their chocolate and live longer too! Researchers at Harvard University found that men who eat chocolate a few times a month live significantly longer than men who rarely eat chocolate!
16. Eating chocolate is associated with strengthening your immune system; this reduces your risk of catching those nasty cold and flu bugs.
17. Dark chocolate is so rich and savory a sweeith that a little goes a long, long way. Have your chocolate and eat it in moderation- 1 oz of the delectable treat weights in at 150 calories.
18. Chocolate, and dark chocolate in particular, contains polyphenols that lower the risk of heart disease by preventing LDL or "bad" cholesterol from sticking to the arteries. New studies are also showing that antioxidants in dark chocolate and cocoa powder may actually increase "good" (HDL) cholesterol levels.
19. Chocolate DOES NOT promote tooth decay. Tooth decay is primarily the result of poor oral hygiene, not the overingdulgence in chocolate or other candies. The good news for chocolate lovers is that there may actually be antibacterial agents in chocolate products that inhibit plaque formation and slow down the tooth-decaying process.
20. It's a fact! Chocolate DOES NOT cause ACNE! Acne is caused by hormones and genetic predisposition, not by the foods you eat. You are more likely to "break out" from the stress of "denial" then you are from eating a piece of chocolate.
21. Contrary to popular belief, chocolate does not cause migraines and is not the headache-trigger food some thought it to be. A study at the University of Pittsburgh found promising results that headache suffers can enjoy chocolate without the fear of causing headaches.
22. Do you want to feel good? Eat a piece of chocolate! Chocolate contains substances that act as natural opiates, dulling pain and increasing our feeling of well-being. Chocolate releases endorphins that make you feel happy!
23. The best news ever. Many people overestimate the calories in chocolate. A 1.5 oz milk chocolate bar contains approximately 220 calories, low enough to be incorporated into a healthy diet. The occasional indulgence may actually reduce the possible "binge" by satisfying rather than depriving.
24.Chocolate does NOT make you FAT! NO SINGLE FOOD can be responsible for making you fat! Weight gain and obesity is the result of too many calories consumed and not enought calories burned off. Chocolate in moderation can fit inot a healthy diet!
25. If you're going to indulge, why not go for the best? Darker is better. Dark chocolate provides the most antioxidants and stearic acid, followed by milk chocolate. White chocolate does NOT have antioxidant properties, it is made from cocoa butter, not beans.
26. Chocolate is not addictive! Ranked as the single most craved food in the United States, people love the taste, scent, and texture of chocolate, but it is NOT addictive!
By Jyl Steinback a senior editor for Looking Good Now magazine and lifestyle couch, personal trainer and coauthor of a fitness book.