A MATTER OF CHOCOLATE
Why deny yourself the pleasure? Good for both your mood and your cardiovascular health, chocolate can very easily be integrated into your diet—as long as it’s consumed in moderation, of course.
The types of fats contained in cacao butter, such as monounsaturated fatty acids, prevent high cholesterol, which contributes to good cardiovascular health.
The flavonoids contained in dark chocolate help lower blood pressure by reducing the buildup of LDL (low-density lipoproteins)—bad cholesterol. Yet, you need to aim for a level below 3.4 mmol/L of LDL in your blood.
Flavonoids also increase insulin sensitivity and have an anti-inflammatory effect on the heart.
QUALITY, ABOVE ALL
Read labels closely, because all chocolates are different. Favour products that contain higher amounts of cocoa and the lowest possible amounts of texture agents such as palm oil, as they are bad for arteries and cholesterol levels.
In addition to containing less sugar than milk chocolate, dark chocolate contains less sodium, and more fibre, iron, magnesium and caffeine.
A NATURAL ANTIDEPRESSANT
Eating chocolate triggers the release of dopamine and endorphins, the body’s natural opiates. It also contains trace amounts of substances like phenylethylamine—a precursor of serotonin, the key hormone of happiness.
CHOCOLATE FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH DIABETES
Some low-sugar chocolates swap saccharose for maltitol, but they don’t always taste good. High in calories, they can also have laxative side effects.
As for fructose, it should be avoided since too much of this substance raises blood levels of triglycerides, which is dangerous for your heart.
In short, it might be better to treat yourself to a few squares of high-quality chocolate rather than a low-sugar, less satisfying product. By taking care to account for chocolate indulgences in your blood sugar management, you can very easily hang on to your sweet tooth!
Diabetes.co.uk (2019). Diabetes and Chocolate. Retrieved from: https://www.diabetes.co.uk/food/diabetes-and-chocolate.html. Accessed Jan 2022
Diabetes Self-Management (2012). Chocolate As Diabetes Medicine. Retrieved from: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/chocolate-as-diabetes-medicine/. Accessed Jan 2022
Healthline Can people with diabetes eat chocolate?: https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/chocolate-for-diabetics#benef... Accessed Jan 2022
Singapore Heart Foundation website https://www.myheart.org.sg/my-heart/preventions-risks/risk-factors/ Access Jan 2022
Le journal des femmes (2019). La santé par le chocolat. Retrieved from: https://sante.journaldesfemmes.com/nutrition-digestion/1011377-la-sante-par-le-chocolat/. Accessed Jan 2022.