One of my favorite insights I like to share with people is: “Before there was medicine, there was food.” But a lesser-known addition to that quote is: “Before there was food there was chocolate!” Chocolate has gotten a bad rap because of its high sugar and fat content. However, in moderation, chocolate can be a great health benefit!
- A 2011 Swedish study found that women who ate more than 45 grams of chocolate a week had a 20 percent lower risk of stroke than women who treated themselves to fewer than 9 grams of the sweet stuff.
- Regular chocolate consumption has also been shown to lower blood pressure, bad “LDL” cholesterol, and heart disease.
- An Italian study from 2005 found that regularly eating chocolate increased insulin sensitivity thereby reducing the risk of diabetes.
- Cocoa has anti-clotting, blood-thinning properties that work in a similar way to aspirin, which can improve blood flow and circulation.
- Because of chocolate’s ability to improve blood flow, in particular to the brain, researchers at the University of Reading hypothesized in a 2011 study that chocolate may also increase blood flow to the retina, thereby giving vision a boost.
Perhaps most importantly, chocolate brings great pleasure to many. I am a firm believer of the 80/20 rule – eat 80% healthy, well-balanced diet and allow that 20% for comfort foods. This will help to keep eating from becoming a chore and the very act of occasionally indulging and treating yourself to something special makes you a happier person, which studies show is a good thing for every cell in your body.
So go ahead, enjoy some chocolate today!