OMG! Do I love chocolate? Do bees like honey? It’s probably in the gene pool. Doomed from the start. My mother has a healthy love for the perfect smooth, yummy, rich treat. But where she will pick the milk chocolate, I’ll choose the dark every time. That’s why we make the perfect team to share a mixed box of See’s candy.
But chocolate – oh sweet chocolate – it’s a love/hate relationship. Put the right kind in front of me and, like an evil naysayer, it calls to me with its siren song. You know the one. It’s almost impossible to resist. I can easily gain five pounds in a chocolate binge.
So when my son came home with a weekly writing assignment to discuss the benefits of chocolate, I was surprised. Was the school seriously arming the children with solid arguments for eating sweets?
For some kids that may not be a problem, but others – well, let’s just say it’s not information my youngest needs to have in her arsenal. But my son’s research turned up some rather fascinating facts about our favorite yummy treat that just goes to show nature has a wonderful way of balancing all things out and medicine doesn’t always have to taste bad.
Maybe you knew this already, maybe I’m the last one on the trolley of knowledge, but were you aware that chocolate is actually produced from plants? That’s right. It contains many of the same benefits as dark vegetables.
Now, don’t get all carried away here. Even though chocolate may have some health benefits that doesn’t mean you can eat all you want. It is still high in sugar and fat!
But if you can control yourself and keep your intake to a small amount, researchers believe there are some pretty awesome benefits to be reaped from dark chocolate, or better yet cocoa. Because it comes from plants it contains flavonoids, which in turn act like antioxidants. Antioxidants have been known to help protect the body against aging.
Am I saying it will keep you looking young and beautiful? Well, I didn’t say it was a miracle worker, but it may work like many of those creams and elixirs we spend so much money on. Or at the very least, help them do a better job.
What else can it do? A couple of weeks ago, August McLaughlin mentioned how it could help in her post: Foods for a Beautiful Brain. Well, it’s a wonderful healthy heart item as well. It works for the following:
Okay, this is what it’s best known for when it comes to health benefits, but it can also help with blood flow, making platelets less sticky and less likely to clot.
But it doesn’t stop there! Check this out, chocolate can:
- Reduce pain
- Lessen anxiety
- Give you an energy boost
- Work as an anti-depressant
Look at all that! And it has less caffeine than coffee does. Sounds pretty amazing, doesn’t it? Well, be careful. Avoid taking milk with your dose of chocolate or you cancel out all the good it can do. Milk prevents the body from absorbing the antioxidants.
Also, when picking your chocolate – always go dark and avoid fillers such as caramel, nougat and others. They only add sugar and fat while erasing any benefit you would have gained.
I understand that research is still being conducted and is therefore inconclusive, but from what they’ve seen researchers are convinced. You stand to gain a lot from chocolate. So thank you – kid’s school – for helping us learn a little bit more about this sugary delight. Enjoy the wonderful health benefits of chocolate, never forgetting the importance of taking this treat in moderation. And I still say, fruit and vegetables will do you better. But chocolate it must be, dark is the way to go.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the benefits of chocolate. Did I share any information with you that you didn’t already know? Do you think it was wise of the school to have the children investigate this at such a young age (my son is ten)?
Other great posts on chocolate:
To read about the darker, production side check this great post out:
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53 thoughts on “Dip Me in Chocolate! Healthy and Happy”
Actually I think teaching this to kids is a GOOD thing. I mean really…how many kids balk at eating spinach, broccoli and other things that are nutritious. Teach them early enough that chocolate is good for them and they’ll probably avoid it for life. 🙂
I knew some of this information, but not all of it. Although you and the school forgot two extremely important benefits of chocolate. Its existence keeps the murder rate down…and population of women’s prisons from soaring. Just imagine a world filled with women…and no chocolate to calm the PMS beast. 🙂
I don’t think having the kids learn about chocolate will make them want it any less. It just arms them with a solid argument why they should have it. LOL But the learning is good. And you’re right, if it keeps the female prison population down that’s all good. 🙂
LOL…I was just kidding about the good thing. After 4 a.m. isn’t the best time for me to try to be funny. The whole assignment struck me as just wrong. Especially considering that if your schools are anything like ours, things like birthday and holiday treats are frowned upon…and often not allowed. So yeah, teach them that chocolate is good for them… That’s going on my list of things that annoy me about schools (right under think/spell and letting grade-schoolers use calculators to learn math). :/
I have a better one, but I’m saving that for April. BTW, I knew you were being funny. 😉
Moderation is key in all we do. I’ve known chocolate is good for us. I know how it makes me feel when I eat it. 😉
I would expect you to know because you’re a smart lady.How does it make you feel Krystal? 😉
Wow, Debra, thanks for the linky love! I did know about chocolate, of course, from my research, but isn’t it cool stuff? I think it’s great to have the kids learn about it, because it already has their interest, as long as they are also learning the difference between real chocolate and chocolate with filler ingredients. And learning moderation, of course – but I’m still learning that one, LOL.
Happy Leap Day,
Very cool stuff, and you’re very welcome Kathy! I think telling the difference between the chocolates and moderating themselves might be the hardest part for a kid. Like you, moderation is my weakness. Happy Leap Day to you as well. 🙂
Ooh, I love chocolate. I even joined the Hershey fan club as a kid. LOL And the original form actually IS a vegetable—a bean, that is… 😉 Thanks so much for sharing my link, Debra. It’s amazing how many brain-healthy foods are also heart-healthy.
I prefer dark over milk, hands down, but it took me a while to adjust. I tell people to start with the darkest they feel comfy with and gradually increase—30% to 40% and so on. Oh, and another cool fact: Women who eat small amounts of dark chocolate daily experience less overall sweets cravings and related emotional stress. Woot woot!
Thank you for all the wonderful, complementary information August! Yes – the beans/vegetable. They are in the second picture. They’re so happy they made a heart! 🙂 I love almond milk. That’s what I’ve been using in my shakes recently. You are very welcome for the link. 😀
Oh, and one MORE thing! LOL If you love drinking milk with your chocolate goodies, swap dairy out for soy, rice or almond…. 😉 Ok. Stepping away from the choco-post… LOL
Great post Debra! And how could it not be – its about my favorite food group!! Yes, I’ve given chocolate its own group – and apparently it’s well deserving. I knew it was good for you in moderation, but I wasn’t aware of all the benefits you listed here. Now I know, and believe me when I say – I will share with others!
Now you see, that’s where I have trouble – with the sharing. LOL My daughter will find my stash and that’s the end of it all. But then, I have trouble keeping it in moderation at times as well. I loves me some dark chocolate! I’m with you on it having its own food group. 😀
Oh my word, I wish I liked dark chocolate. I really really do. I’m jealous of all of you dark chocolate lovers, but it just seems like a waste of chocolate to me. I can not BELIEVE how many times the word chocolate is popping up in my life this week, though!
Not even melted dark chocolate on your fruit? You could try it that way. Isn’t it funny how things work that way? You hear it once and then it’s like you hear it everywhere. 🙂
I’d read about the antioxidant/flavonoid content before, and when research revealed the info on chocolate’s anti-depressant qualities, millions of women must’ve been saying, “Well, duh!” But I didn’t know it also helped with pain and anxiety. I think it’s good for kids to learn this stuff in school as long as it’s tempered with the caveats you presented: high in fat and sugar, so eat in moderation. Great post!
Tell that to my daughter who doesn’t care as long as she’s feeding her inner sugar monster! Haha She’d say, “Moderate this!” 😀 That’s my girl. Makes a mommy proud. LOL (I am kidding) But I really did learn some interesting things working on this with my kid. I didn’t know those last two things either Jennette.
I’m addicted to chocolate. I knew that dark chocolate is good for you, but I hadn’t heard about milk canceling out the benefits. That’s good to know. I think it’s okay for the kids to study the benefits and drawbacks of chocolate. Hey, if it’s a subject that interests them and gets them into doing research and reading, then I’m all for it!
I hadn’t heard about the milk either. It was a good thing to learn since I tend to try and push milk on the kids first before any other drink. My daughter used to drink soy, but has winged off that a while back. Now she only wants it if it’s loaded up on vanilla flavoring which seems like a waste.
Gee, thanks, Debra. You just made me raid my boss’s stash of Hershey bars.
Sorry. :-/ It was dark chocolate, right? LOL
I gave up chocolate many years ago, but I always make an exception for chocolate fondue 🙂 I always thought it was healthy, even though the fruit just seemed an excuse to dip_something_ in chocolate. But I trust you, and if you’re telling me that chocolate is healthy by itself… 🙂
That’s what the research says, but after reading Jennifer Jensen’s comment I might not want to eat chocolate. LOL
Fun post. My kids definitely don’t need any more weapons in their arsenal – it’s so easy to convince me as it is. However, isn’t there some urban legend that the FDA allows a certain percentage of cockroach parts in chocolate because it’s impossible to keep them out of the factories? One site said 15%!!
I did a newspaper article on an award-winning science teacher a number of years ago. Besides filling his room with strange animals and having the kids to amazing experiments, they researched what was allowed by the FDA. I don’t remember the percentage of insect legs allowed, but they put a chocolate bar in a ziploc bag and posted it on the board. By the next year, it was completely gone – the eggs in the chocolate had hatched and eaten it all!
Should have sworn me off chocolate, but it hasn’t!
In some countries, chocolate covered grasshoppers and ants are a delicacy. So even if there are a few bug parts in my chocolate, as long as I can’t see them, I have a feeling I’ll keep eating 🙂
True. But I can’t see me lining up to get a taste. Chocolate covered protein, yum! That’s the candy coating that makes it go down easier.
In some sick way that makes me want to try it at home. Maybe none of us will want to eat chocolate afterwards. So gross.
I hear you! I’m too easy to convince as well. I think you got your answer regarding the (oh so gross) bug parts in the other comments. Gag.
Ooh, loved this post! My current favorite is Green & Black’s 60% mint dark chocolate. Don’t know if mint adds more calories, but I don’t think so. I knew it was healthy and most of the reasons why, but I didn’t know that milk prevents the absorption of antioxidants. I wonder if that’s all anti-oxidants, like my Co-Q-10, or just from chocolate?
I think it’s worth teaching kids the benefits of chocolate, along with some other things we usually think of as bad for you, but a whole report? No. Just a lesson of “did you know?” including chocolate and others. Leave the reports for the importance of anti-oxidants overall, or something like that.
Going to look for a hidden chocolate stash now . . .
That sure does sound pretty! I bet it taste extremely yummy as well! Mmmmm, num,num,num. Yeah, the milk thing surprised me to. I learn all kinds of things through my kid. Normally it’s about superheroes, futurist soldiers and little block miners, but chocolate is good. His writing assignments are probably aren’t what you are thinking of when you think report. What I did was much more detailed than what he had to do.
Yummm, chocolate. Yep, dark is the way to go! Milk chocolate just doesn’t do it for me anymore.
I always wonder, who looked at that cocoa nib and thought, hmmm, maybe if I roast it and grind it and do about a hundred other things to it, it will taste good. I mean, a papaya just grows on a tree and you don’t have to do anything to it but peel the skin off. A cocoa bean? Anyway, great post! Thanks for the mention, too.
I feel the same way. Used to be a big milk chocolate fan. Not so much anymore.
Too funny. You’re right. It took a real creative mind to experiment with the beans that way.
What a cool school assignment. I love milk chocolate & white chocolate and never eat dark chocolate, uh oh 🙂
Uh oh is right. LOL What are you going to do about that?! 😀 I don’t recall ever writing about cool things when I was in school.
Gosh, Deborah, what a post!!
I LOVE chocolate, especially something we have over here called Cadbury’s creme eggs. They are delicious thick milk chocolate with a fondant filling the size of a real hen’s egg. I can scoff my way through three at a time.
However, they are bad, bad, health news. I haven’t had chocolate in any form for five weeks. The first week was tough and I had headaches. I’ve also cut refined sugar of any description from my diet and I’m feeling soooo much better.
When I was pregnant with my first daughter – Myndi will like this – I went for a pre-natal check-up with my Hubster at eight months with a sun-tanned tummy the shape of a perfect egg. No stretch marks, nothing and I’d gained only eighteen pounds. The gyne said ‘What a lovely bump, you’ve obviously been eating well.’ my DH snorted and said, ‘That’s not a baby, she’s having a giant Cadbury’s Creme Egg. She’s scoffed her way through hundreds of the things.’ He was perfectly serious!!!!! Claire was six pounds 2oz!
Oh yes, Cadbury Creme Eggs. Don’t let one of those sit too long. The insides turn real nasty. My favorite has always been Lindor truffles. Mmmm, soo good. I become very selfish with them.
You experience withdrawals when you went off the chocolate? I went through something like that when I was pregnant years ago. They told me to have a coke if I got a headache. Uh yeah. That sounds like the solution. 🙁 I was doing soo go. No sugar, coffee or sodas and fell off that wagon when I started blogging. Are they connected? Hmmm Working to get back in the mindset again.
What a sweet story. I’m sure every woman wishes she were so lucky to have a little Cadbury Creme Egg belly when prego. 🙂
So what you’re saying is that I should dip my vegetables in chocolate to maximize the goodness? I love that!
I did know that chocolate had some healthy properties. I enjoy the dark chocolate as well, more than the milk, but both have been known to calm me right down in a hurry, especially when enjoyed with a nice glass of port. Good stuff!
Thanks for the reminder. Well, actually, thanks to your son’s teacher for this reminder. I’m guessing the teacher was looking for ways to get her students to bring her chocolate as part of their reserach and homework assignment. It wasn’t about teaching the kids, it was about acquiring chocolate for herself.
w/a Jansen Schmidt
Just like fondue! I wish milk calmed me, but I have always had problems with milk. Makes me nauseous. My parents didn’t believe me as a child until I proved it to be true.
Patricia! Ha ha. I hadn’t thought of it that way. That’s too funny. I should have sent my kid to school with a box of dark chocolates. Maybe he would have gotten extra credit! Thanks, Patricia/Jansen. 😉
Yep, flavonoids and antioxidants are the ONLY reasons why I eat chocolate. Has nothing to do with the sugar or the taste. 🙂
I would never question it. 😉
I’ve been trying to answer your comments from the comment section of the blog since they added that new word press feature and all my comments show up and fill up the tickler. I see it hasn’t worked out so well and I’m missing people or messing up where the comments go. Grrr. Dislike.
good health and good taste and it’s chocolate…who could ask for more.
I work across from the only organic, fair trade chocolate maker in the country. They are a bean to bar company and when they roast the beans it smells wonderful! I recommend their tour, at every stop along the way, the tour guide says “Now it’s time to eat more chocolate!”. Theo Chocolate for those who want to know.
Ooooooh, I did want to know! Theo Chocolate is in Seattle (I googled it), who’s up for a field trip? My car seats 8, let’s hit the road my chocolate loving friends.
I would LOVE to go back to Seattle again!
That sounds sooo amazingly delicious. I’d be too tempted to visit daily.
I knew dark chocolate was healthier than milk, but I didn’t know it actually had health benefits! Now maybe I’ll feel a little less guilty when I eat it.
Let go of the guilt. Be free! 🙂
I love chocolate! And lucky for me I prefer the dark kind to milk chocolate. It is the dark chocolate that is the healthiest. In Ecuador (where chocolate grows) we had a until about making chocolate. We got to actually see the cacao fruit and chop it open and try the fruit and the seed that become chocoate. It was so cool to see it in its natural state before it becomes the yummy goodness that we think of as chocolate. So, really I consider chocolate to be a fruit! 🙂
That would be pretty cool to see it in that state. I can only imagine. Lucky you! Sorry I’m so late in responding. Just getting the computer back up and running again – sort of. Still working out some bugs.