For those of us who awoke from our self-induced chocolate coma on Tuesday and waddled into work, only to hear an annoying workmate say “I just had one or two little chocies over Easter”, hold your head high – WE have done our health a world of good!
If you Google the ‘health benefits of brussel sprouts’ there are a mere 78,400 mentions. However, try ‘health benefits of chocolate’ and you’ll be deluged with a whopping 2,150,000! Clearly brown is the new green.
We all love hearing things that are bad for us may actually be good for us.
We’ve known for some years now that chocolate may be good for your heart. Cocoa beans contain polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that may protect against heart disease and cancer.
Last week the media focused on results of a German study which provided further evidence regarding this link. Published in a reputable journal, it included a large research population (almost 20,000 that was part of a larger cancer study) and was carried out by an independent foundation with no conflict of interest declared. The study ticked a lot of important boxes to be taken seriously.
‘The more chocolate the better’ was one of the timely pre-Easter messages. Commencing my dance of joy I noticed the kicker – the difference between ‘more’ and ‘less’ in the study was a mere six grams of chocolate. That’s less than one small square of a 100g bar. And, it really needs to be dark chocolate. No dance.
Then there are the psychological benefits of chocolate. These articles always begin well – “An apple a day? Make that a chocolate bar.” Whilst that probably sent dietitians around the country into apoplectic shock, it works for me! The smooth indulgence has been said to trigger the same chemical reactions as some anti-depressant medications. It also triggers the release of those feel good endorphins. When was the last time a celery stick gave you a warm fuzzy feeling?
Surprisingly, chocolate has been found to contain a healthier saturated fat. Chocolate, on average, is approximately 30-45% fat of which around 20% is saturated fat and half of that is stearic acid which does not affect blood cholesterol levels. In fact, an RMIT study found people who ate 100 grams of chocolate a day had smaller platelets in their blood after three weeks, which could help reduce the risk of coagulation.
And if that isn’t enough to convince you that brown is the new green, Japanese research found that the polyphenols in chocolate can actually prevent dental caries.
So the next time that workmate is sipping mung bean and lentil soup, let your endorphins run free, flash those pearly whites and rest easy in the knowledge that we chocolate lovers are simply oozing health!
Guest written by Maria Padua, PR consultant and chocolate devotee