It is amazing how a little bit of chocolate = a lot of happiness. This is all linked to the release of chemicals in our brain that relay “happiness”, but science aside…I love chocolate. Interestingly enough an article in the Archives of Internal Medicine was just recently published that showed an association between regular intake of chocolate and a lower Body Mass Index (BMI). It was the frequency not the quantity of chocolate that the researchers from the University of California, San Diego found to be tied with BMI status. Previous studies have found that certain kinds of chocolate improve factors related to metabolism, including blood pressure, cholesterol levels and insulin sensitivity; this may be due to the fact that chocolate is rich in antioxidant phyonutrients like catechins and flavinoids. Yet, people trying to lose weight tended to avoid chocolate because of its high calorie count, and the fact it is a…*gasp* sweet. While chocolate will not help one lose weight, it goes back to the fact that we shouldn’t single out one thing (like fat or desserts) and label all as bad. Good, quality food has a lot of nutrients that our bodies want and need. I thank my lucky stars every day that chocolate is one of them (dark being more beneficial than milk – the addition of milk to chocolate may block the ability of the body to absorb the antioxidants present in chocolate)!! Also, overtly process chocolate is not as beneficial to your health, because like most processed foods…the more something is processed the less nutritious it becomes.
My lovely roommate gave me some chocolate yesterday imported from Germany (hand imported by her husband and his recent trip back to his homeland *smiles*) and it is almost gone. Moderation is key, but sometimes the chocolate cravings win out. Random note: chocolate cravings may be linked to magnesium levels which is why it is hypothesized that chocolate cravings and PMS are linked (a time when a woman’s magnesium levels are generally lower!) Love when science and my body work together *laughs*