Is Chocolate Good or Bad For You?

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Monday Morning Acu-Minute by Karen Johnson

Today’s This and That delicious topic is Chocolate!! Is chocolate good or bad?

Well, apparently, people have been thinking it’s pretty darn good for a long time! According to my research, the word cocoa comes from the word “kakawa” which translates as “God food.” Traces of chocolate have reportedly been detected in Mayan ceramic remains dating as early as 600 B.C. Fast forward to our present day, and clearly chocolate has become a worldwide obsession. For good reasons.

Besides being delicious, chocolate is one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet. Studies indicate that regular consumption could help lower the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, improve blood flow, reduce the chances of blood clots and may help regulate the balance between “good and bad” cholesterol. It’s also high in iron and minerals. Chocolate makes you feel good, apparently because it causes your body to release endorphins, which are the same chemicals released internally during exercise or when you feel like you are falling in love.

On the down side (don’t worry, it’s a short list!), chocolate is high in fat and calories.

Making chocolate products involves crushing cocoa beans into a paste of cocoa solids. Some of the solids are pressed to extract cocoa butter and cocoa powder, which are then combined with sugar and milk to create different types of chocolate. Unsweetened and dark chocolate contain as much as 80 to 85 percent cocoa solids. Milk chocolate has less cocoa and more milk and sugar, which, of course adds calories. White chocolate is not considered chocolate at all. So the benefits of chocolate are found in mostly in dark chocolate, which is has more actual cocoa bean, where the nutrients can be found.

Chocolate might be a trigger food for people who suffer from migraines.

It is probably not addictive, even though it has some sugar and caffeine. It might be the sugar aspect that keeps us coming back for more.

Chocolate is a danger to pets, because it contains a stimulant called theobromine, which animals are unable to digest.

And finally, while chocolate has many benefits and is delicious, as one person noted, “Chocolate is not a food group,” and should be enjoyed wisely as a part of ones’ overall health program.

Until next time…