The Benefits of Eating Chocolate. Yes, That’s Right … Chocolate
Why Dark Chocolate Can Be Included in a Holistic Approach to Proper Nutrition
For decade upon decade, there has been a continuous tug-of-war, so to speak, between parents and their children with respect to the consumption of chocolate. The parents, of course, are concerned about the potential consequences of weight gain and tooth decay in their children while the youngsters are more focused on enjoying sweet-tasting treats; the intensity of this struggle is often directly proportional to the intensity of commercial marketing for such annual observances as Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Halloween.
But there is one important element missing from this metaphorical/figurative food fight; that is the form of chocolate being consumed, i.e. milk chocolate versus dark chocolate. A majority of the chocolate sold, and consumed, by adults and children is milk chocolate. While it does have a sweeter taste, this type contains less of the original cocoa bean that forms the base of all manufactured chocolate, and more milk solids, sugar, and cream; thus the warranted concerns relative to a person’s weight and teeth if their consumption level is to excess.
On the other hand, dark chocolate typically has much higher cocoa content, and because cocoa is low in fat and also has good nutritional value/qualities, this type of chocolate is a much better option for individuals who want to include a modest amount in their diets.
Our Holistic Nutritionists Offer a List of Benefits Associated with Dark Chocolate
Before you run to the candy section of the closest grocery or department store, it will be very important to keep some rather pertinent information in mind. First and foremost, the term ‘modest amount’ was emphasized above because overindulgence of any type of food, including dark chocolate, is not recommended; secondly, the cocoa content of the dark chocolate should be a minimum of 70%, in order to appreciate any of its benefits.
Now that these parameters have been established, here is the list of benefits that people can derive from consuming dark chocolate, presented by the holistic nutrition specialists from the Edison Institute of Nutrition in Quebec:
- Lower Blood Pressure: consumption of cocoa has been associated with lower rates of cardiovascular events (situations that can damage the heart muscle) and reported to have cardioprotective properties (protection against heart disease)
- Antioxidant Properties: cocoa contains many naturally occurring compounds which have strong antioxidant capabilities; this in turn helps to cleanse the body of harmful free radicals that are thought to cause cancer, and heart and cerebrovascular disease
- Healthy Endothelial Function: the flavonoids contained in cocoa help promote the healthy functioning of the cells that line the inside of the body’s blood vessels; these cells release substances that control the contraction and relaxation of the vessels and also release enzymes that control/inhibit platelet clumping and blood clot formation
- Lower Cholesterol Levels: in addition to supporting heart health, cocoa can help to lower LDL levels (i.e.: bad cholesterol); this has been associated with the high levels of phytosterols, naturally-occurring compounds found in cocoa beans
- Promoting Healthy Mood: when consumed in moderation, cocoa contained in dark chocolate can increase levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps in regulating mood, as well as behaviour, appetite, sleep, and sexual desire/interest
- Better Cognitive Function: the flavonoids in cocoa are reported to have a positive effect on slowing age-related cognitive (i.e. mental) decline and in helping to support cognitive function (reasoning, memory, attention, and language)
- Effect on Inflammation: regular consumption of small amounts of dark chocolate could reduce inflammation; studies have indicated that concentration of flavonoids in cocoa is responsible for lowering levels of C-reactive protein, a substance produced in the liver that is known to increase in response to inflammation within the body
- Weight Maintenance: the flavonoids in cocoa, in conjunction with regular exercise, may help prevent insulin resistance, a condition where the body does not sufficiently store and use glucose (sugar) for energy, causing the body to store more fat instead and thereby leading to weight gain
Further Your Personal Interest in Holistic Nutrition through Our Online Courses
If you are intrigued by these benefits of cocoa/dark chocolate, in particular with the way that its naturally-occurring compounds work in the body, you may be an ideal candidate to participate in online holistic nutrition courses available through the Edison Institute of Nutrition in Quebec.
The Edison Institute of Nutrition is highly recognized for these holistic nutrition courses; individuals from all regions of the country can participate in distance learning programs that can satisfy a number of nutrition-related interests, including:
- To achieve a better state of health
- To gain knowledge about holistic nutrition
- To become a holistic nutrition resource for others
- To pursue professional certification in holistic nutrition
For further insight on our online holistic nutrition courses, from our Introductory Program to our Diploma in Holistic Nutrition Program, call the Edison Institute of Nutrition today
at 1-800-456-9313 or contact us to speak with one of our educational advisors.