(c) 2011 Body Talk eZine - sponsored by The 7-Day Weight Loss Makeover
If the thought of holiday diets is making you a humbug this season, there's good news. Although I wouldn't go as far as to call it a "health" food, dark chocolate, that decadent confection, may not be a bad way to go if your sweet tooth has the best of you. Recently conducted studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition have shown that a dose of dark chocolate is not a bad "cheating" option. And with the holidays and the impending holiday diets upon us, this news couldn't have come at a better time.
Just for fun, I thought I'd conduct a mini-research project of my own and get the "skinny" on our friend dark chocolate. Here's some of the interesting factoids I came up with:
- Cocoa - the precursor to chocolate - has been around a long time. A few thousand years, in fact. It has been thought that cocoa beans were brought to Europe in the 1500's by Christopher Columbus.
- Cocoa, later made into chocolate, was given to American Soldiers in WWII. A source of high energy, each soldier was given a three chocolate bar per day ration, according to historical data.
- Researchers began getting more involved in dark chocolate studies when results began showing that in addition to it being a high energy food, chocolate also seems to elevate moods. Researchers found truth in the studies which showed that dark chocolate does, in fact, increase levels of the mood-altering chemicals such as serotonin and endorphins.
- Other researchers have been looking for links to prove the correlation between chocolate and a true physiological craving. (Check out "Why Women Need Chocolate," written by Debra Waterhouse, Registered Dietician in 1999).
- And the best news yet. Upon further study, it has been found that there is a positive correlation between the "flavonoids" in dark chocolate and properties of antioxidants; those preventing "bad" cholesterol (LDL) in the blood from oxidizing and clogging arteries.
Therefore, as previously stated, if you are looking for a diet "cheat" during the holidays, dark chocolate may not be a bad option. Facts aside, and before you run out to fill your shopping cart full, keep these guidelines in mind:
- Heed the advice of Aristotle: "Everything in moderation." Refrain from taking the chocolate factory tour and keep your chocolate fix to a minimum. Enjoy it, but please don't over do.
Moreover, if you'd like to skip the treat but not the fun, why not send a virtual chocolate postcard from the virtual chocolate website (no calories included): virtualchocolate.com or visit our list of healthy types of diets.
To summarize my findings then, it appears that dark chocolate is in fact our friend (in moderation, of course). As for the cravings many have noted, my research did prove inconclusive. Yet, with the holidays upon us, a bit of dark chocolate every once in a while, at least for this figure conscious consumer, is quite blissful enough.
(Research Ref: Eat To Beat Cancer, Hatherill. 1998 St. Martins Press, New York)
More From The Body Talk eZine:
Discover the Healthy Insider's Secrets You Can Use to Lose Weight & Feel Better Than You Have in Years... All In Just 7 Days! Plus, Grab Our FREE Bonuses! Try our: 7-day weight loss makeover! "It's like having a personal trainer and nutritionist right in your living room." We think it’s a great fit to fulfill our need for diet plans for women over 40!