Is Chocolate a Health Food?

Happy Halloween!

I know that most of you are going to overdo it in the candy department this next week and perhaps some of you all the way to Valentine’s Day??

Chocolate candy is going to be everywhere, at home, the office, events, parties etc etc.. Before you or your kids indulge in way too much of the yummy stuff know that consumption comes with a price. It is loaded with extra calories, it is hard to stop at just one and worst of all it a depresses the immune system. It is no wonder kids come home from school with the sniffles right after Halloween.

Here is the skinny so you can make good for you choices for yourself and your kids:

The cocoa bean, actually a seed, grows in pods on trees. It contains compounds called flavanols, which have been shown to lower blood pressure, improve blood flow and reduce overall risk of heart disease. Three scientific analyses published in the past six months pooled results of smaller studies to conclude that cocoa is good for the heart. Scientists believe flavanols work, at least in part, by stimulating production of nitric oxide, which relaxes vessels and improves blood flow.

Most chocolate isn’t labeled with milligrams of flavanols and there’s no industry or scientific standard yet for measuring flavanols in chocolate. One objective measure is the cocoa percentage on the label. Milk chocolate can be as little as 10% cocoa paste by weight, with the rest in sugar, milk and other ingredients.

Dark-chocolate bars typically contain 50% to 85% cocoa by weight, scientists say. “The higher the percentage of cocoa, the higher the flavanol content, the higher the antioxidant content and thus we believe the greater positive health benefit,” says Washington, D.C., nutritionist Joy Dubost, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

My take on the above information is that a little goes a long way. If you have a chocolate craving and are trying to lose weight one or two squares of the 70-80% Dark Chocolate after dinner or as a healthy snack should satisfy. If you crave Chocolate all the time you might be deficient in Magnesium!

Take it easy on yourself this holiday season…. and make good for you choices. You are in charge of your health and wellness… Now that is Scary!!

Happy Halloween