Saturday, April 3, 2010

Chocolate Bunnies for Easter?

Happy Easter! For many of you this means going to church to celebrate the meaning of Easter as well as carrying on some of the Easter traditions. Which include eating candy and chocolate bunnies. There is so much information about dark chocolate and it’s benefits that many of the patients we see tell us ….“I have been eating my dark chocolate. You know, it is healthy for you.”

Well, it is true, dark chocolate is a rich source of antioxidants (containing more than milk or white chocolate), and the fat present in dark chocolate is metabolically neutral. Studies have demonstrated a small amount of dark chocolate everyday can reduce blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure and can reduce LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) by up to 10 percent.

Other benefits of dark chocolate aside from protecting your heart include:

  • It stimulates endorphin (happy hormone) production.

  • It contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant.

  • It tastes good.

BUT, this isn’t a free pass to eat all the dark chocolate you can get your hands on. Chocolate is a high calorie, high fat food. Most of the studies done use 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate or less per day to get these benefits. If you are eating dark chocolate and telling yourself it is healthy; while at the same time, gaining 10 pounds, become pre-diabetic, and gaining abdominal fat (bigger waistline)-you aren’t being honest with yourself and you are hurting your own health. Also, if you are addicted to sugar; this keeps you craving for more sugar (see Curbing Your Sweet Tooth).

One bar of dark chocolate can contain up to 400 calories. If you eat half the bar of dark chocolate for the day you still have to balance out those extra 200 calories by eating less of something else.

It’s like life-everything in moderation. Enjoy the present pleasures in such a way that you do not injure future opportunities.

Happy Easter everyone! Hope you spend the day filling up your souls and keeping your body on the healthy track.

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