What’s So Great About…Chocolate

What’s So Great About…Chocolate

If there was a food so packed with antioxidants that it could potentially help stave off cancer, heart disease and depression wouldn’t you eat it? Well guess what? For once it’s not some lawn-weed looking vegetable or the organ meats of a wild and rare African hybrid hyena-puma. It’s chocolate.

The cacao nut contains flavanoids; naturally occurring antioxidants that are also found in tea, some veggies and, yes, red wine my friends. While this is all very exciting for the card carrying chocoholic, experts are quick to put the kibosh on naming chocolate as a  “health food.” Chocolate may seem as vital to health and happiness as a prescribed med, but,  like any medicine, dose and type are key. While a small amount of good quality dark chocolate may confer some health benefits, any more than 6 ounces per day (about 1 square) may negate some of those rewards with extra sugar, calories and saturated fat. And 60% cocoa or higher seems to be the magic number. But fret not if the bittersweet flavour of dark chocolate isn’t your cup of tea. Even though milk chocolate contains fewer flavanoids, it still makes the cut. White chocolate, however, is a dud.

Those 6 ounces perform some pretty impressive tricks. In one study, six ounces of chocolate lowered blood pressure. In another, it showed positive impact on the lining of patient’s blood vessels, a key factor in cardiovascular disease.  Researchers at Georgetown University have also found an ingredient in chocolate called pentamer that they say may help deactivate the multiplying and dividing of cancer cells. And, according to a report by the CBC, studies show that “chocolate lovers also experienced more feelings of happiness and better psychological well-being.” Those feelings of contentment are due to a long-winded ingredient known as PEA that acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain and has an antidepressant effect. It’s often referred to as the “love” chemical.

While it’s still early going on this research, shouldn’t we all do our part for science?  I read recently that Trisha Helfor melts a bar of dark chocolate into a cup of warm milk every morning to get her fix and she’s a doctor people. O.K. she’s a model, but I still think she might be onto something. And if you want to feel really good about eating chocolate, look for organic and fair trade brands. Here are a couple fantastic shops to check out in Toronto:

Soma in the Historic Distillery District is probably the prototype for chocolate shops in Heaven.

Delight in The Junction is a small, family run shop where they make all the confections by hand, including to die for ice cream…but that’s another post! Impossibly perfect little truffles and other organic, fair trade treats.

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  1. Jing
    February 15, 14:35 Reply

    Great to hear that chocolate is considered healthy! I was almost expecting some weed or new grain. Considering my brother just brought back a ton of chocolate bars from Switzerland, I don’t feel so bad anymore!

    Kathy, not sure if you noticed, but there’s an unusual amount of hyphens “-” throughout this article. It made it somewhat hard to read?

  2. Jing
    February 15, 14:37 Reply

    Looks like my comment has an unusual amount of hyphens too!! Must be the CMS you’re using?

  3. Kathy
    February 16, 16:46 Reply

    Hi Jing,
    I don’t actually see the hyphens your mentioning, either in the post or in your comment. Could it be specific to your system? Unfortunately my technological prowess is limited! Glad you liked the post though!

  4. ellis
    March 11, 09:39 Reply

    Whew- I am seeing a TON of hyphens too! I thought, “Oh dear, these people are nuts, what are they DOING with their writing??”

    I am using the Chrome browser- when I view your site in Explorer I don’t see it.

    Here’s a sample of what I’m seeing in Chrome:
    I don’t actu­ally see the hyphens your men­tion­ing, either in the post or in your com­ment. Could it be spe­cific to your sys­tem? Unfor­tu­nately my tech­no­log­i­cal prowess is lim­ited! Glad you liked the post though!

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