When you look at a list of brain food most people are happy to see chocolate on the list. What they donâ€™t know is that itâ€™s more than just brain food â€“ but heart healthy as well. Whatâ€™s good for the heart is good for the brain â€“ by keeping the blood and oxygen circulating evenly throughout the system. The better your heart health, the better your brain functions.Â
Chocolate and cocoa produce antioxidants, which protect the body and brain from aging; decreases brain cell death; and reduces the risk of cancer and heart disease that are the result of the production of free radicals in our normal digestion.
In a study at Karolinska Instute in Sweden, and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 33,372 Swedish women were involved in research that spanned 10 years. Over that period of time, 1,600 of the women suffered strokes. Researchers found that those who ate the most chocolate had the lowest chance of strokes, and it didnâ€™t make a difference whether the chocolate was dark or light. The women who eat a bar of chocolate a week reduced their risk of stroke by 20%, while those who ate 8 grams or less a week were at the highest risk.
In two other studies, one conducted at Cambridge University, researchers found that regular doses of chocolate could reduce the risk of heart disease by a third, and suggest the possibility that chocolate could be as good for your health as exercise.
Doesnâ€™t chocolate contain a lot of fat and calories that are bad for you? Yes and no.Â About 1/3 of the fat in chocolate is bad for you, and chocolate contains three kinds of fats:
- Oleic acid is a healthy monounsaturated fat, the same as in olive oil.
- Stearic acid is a saturated fat that has a neutral effect on cholesterol.
- Palmitic acid is a saturated fat that does raise cholesterol and cause heart disease â€“ the only 1/3 of the fat that is bad for you in chocolate.
The benefits of chocolate outweigh the negatives, as long as you eat it in moderation. A full size candy bar still contains 400 calories, so you have to adjust your diet to substitute the amount of calories you eat in chocolate by taking away the same amount of calories in another part of your diet. (The studies above only measured on 3.5 ounces). A small bar of chocolate (1/2 a bar) every day can:
- Help keep your heart and cardiovascular system in tip-top shape
- Lower your blood pressure
- Reduces the bad cholesterol (LDL) by up to 10%.
- Stimulates endorphin production â€“ the bodyâ€™s pleasure hormone
- Contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant
- Has stimulants that keep your body in motion.
Savor the moment and the pleasure will last longer. Take small bites and enjoy what you have. In moderation you can enjoy your daily dose of chocolate and save your heart â€“ What a rush that will be!
Note: The studies done were only on women, but researchers are currently working on studies that include men, and expect to find similar results.
From the Desk of Ron White, memory speaker
Memoryzine.com – Stroke Of Luck? Chocolate Might Be As Good As Exercise For Some: http://memoryzine.com/2011/10/12/stroke-of-luck-chocolate-might-be-as-good-as-exercise/
Cleveland Clinic – The Sweet Truth About Chocolate and Your Heart: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/prevention/nutrition/chocolate.aspx
Sweet Chocolate â€“ Brain Food That Makes You Smile!