NUTRITION HOTLINE: Benefits of Chocolate?
Q: I’ve read that chocolate is good for me. Is this true?
A: Yes! Dark chocolate contains antioxidants called flavonoids, and amino acids that increase serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain. The increased serotonin and dopamine levels produce the calm, happy feeling you get after eating chocolate. However, milk chocolate and white chocolate do not have the same health benefits as dark chocolate (white chocolate is not really chocolate!). Studies have found dark chocolate has many health benefits including decreasing blood pressure, decreasing blood clotting (similar to aspirin but a much more mild effect), increasing antioxidant activity, reducing inflammation, and increasing skin texture and hydration. The amount of dark chocolate used in the studies was a large amount (500 calories per day), so more studies need to be done with smaller, more realistic portions. Any volunteers?
By Diane Keddy, MS, RD
Reprinted with permission from Eating Disorders Recovery Today
Summer 2009 Volume 7, Number 3
©2009 Gürze Books