Great news for chocolate lovers?

chocolate health benefits

We can all agree that chocolate is delicious, right?

The taste…the smell…

Whether you’re a young kid or an adult, who doesn’t love chocolate?

Unfortunately, we’ve also learned over the years that chocolate isn’t good for us. Much of that stems from the high amount of fat found in chocolate. This shouldn’t REALLY come as a shock. After all, something that tastes THAT GOOD must be bad, right?!?!

Well, there’s now a glimmer of hope for chocolate lovers. Research is actually starting to show that chocolate may not be as bad as once believed.

In fact, a recent Swedish study of more than 31,000 women revealed that those who ate at least one serving of dark chocolate every week reduced their risk of heart failure by one-third.

So what has led to this somewhat-drastic change of opinion?

The main ingredient is flavanols, which is not only a known antioxidant, but also has vascular benefits as well.

There are flavanols present in chocolate and they supposedly have the ability to lower blood pressure, improve circulation (especially blood flow to the heart and brain) and prevent clotting.

This is important information for anybody, as well should all make good health a top priority. However, it may be of even greater importance to those living in senior housing, as men and women in that demographic are more likely to be managing medical issues or be limited to more restrictive diet plans.

Without getting overly technical, flavanols are a type of flavonoid, which are found in many fruits and vegetables, and their role is to repair damage and protect plants from toxins. Cocoa, which is used to make chocolate, is also rich in flavanols.

Don’t get carried away, however…chocolate certainly should not be considered a “health food” and not ALL types of chocolate offer the same benefits. In fact, only dark chocolate (because of the way the cocoa is processed) gets the nod at this time. And moderation is the key!

What is “moderation?” No more than one ounce a couple times per week.

And what about the fat? Fortunately, the three types of acid that form to make the fat found in dark chocolate don’t have much effect on cholesterol levels…again, WHEN CONSUMED IN MODERATION!

The takeaway here should be that dark chocolate can once again have a place in your heart – without destroying it! Perhaps you completely crossed chocolate off the list of treats you can enjoy because of health concerns, but maybe that was unnecessary.

Another important takeaway…once again…is MODERATION! It is incredibly important that you monitor portion sizes and frequency. Also, if you have any health or medical issues that impact your diet, it’s important that you consult your physician before putting chocolate back on your plate.

Residents at the Lourdes Noreen McKeen senior housing residence in West Palm Beach are lucky, as there are several fine chocolate shops – Palm Beach Confections, Oh My Chocolates, Hoffman’s, Kilwin’s, to name a few – within a short distance.

Senior Living

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