Quest for Healing—Go Ahead: Indulge!

By Judy Brooks

I’ve often regarded chocolate as a guilty pleasure, but it really goes beyond pure indulgence, doesn’t it? Yes! Recent scientific evidence has shown that if we have enough chocolate, it will lower our blood pressure, potentially lower our cholesterol, give us some of the vitamins we get in our servings of fruit and vegetables, and may even act like a baby aspirin.

Are all chocolates created equal?

I recommend chocolate that contains at least 50 percent cocoa, because that’s where you’ll find the active ingredients, vitamins called flavonoids. Specifically, dark chocolate contains more cocoa. The most reputable brands of chocolate will list the percentage of cocoa content right on the label. Or, if the first ingredient listed is cocoa, that’s a good indicator that the cocoa content is high.

Won’t chocolate’s high calorie content offset its benefits?

Well, I think of it as a treat, not as a main course. Maybe about a third of a bar a day is something that one could have. And, if you’re really struggling with calories, my suggestion is to try high-grade cocoa hot chocolate, because it will have less fat.

I’m guessing your patients like coming to see you?

All my patients are really happy when they hear about this.

Chocolate Myths

Chocolate Causes Cavities
Sugar causes cavities. Some of the bacteria in chocolate may actually help prevent bacterial attacks on tooth enamel.

Chocolate is High in Caffeine
Not really—an average piece of chocolate contains about 10 mg of caffeine; a cup of coffee contains 100 mg.

Chocolate is Addictive
According to experts, while chocolate does contain some stimulants, they aren’t present in large enough quantities to affect the brain or the nervous system by creating addiction.

Eating Chocolate Gives You Acne
There’s no evidence to support that acne and chocolate are related.