As Valentine’s day approaches, chocolate becomes a trendy item to gift to that significant other. And, why not!? Chocolate is a delicious gift that people love to indulge in - whether it is cheap or very expensive. Incredibly enough, this delicious treat has come to represent love and even care in a relationship.
However, should you feel guilty about gifting chocolate to your sweetheart? Is chocolate really as bad as you’ve been made to believe in growing up...or...is it not as big of a deal as it has been made out to be?
Let’s take a look at chocolate and the potential health benefits of this treat that is given ‘en mass’ on and during this lover’s holiday.
Look. Too much of any good thing can cause an adverse reaction, and chocolate is no different. The reality is that raw chocolate is extremely nutrient-dense, with numerous beneficial ingredients, including fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese, copper, potassium, and zinc.
Fiber is a powerful nutrient for the digestive tract. The primary role of fiber is to ensure the proper digestion of food by optimizing the gut microbiome and regulating the absorption of food. By all measurements, fiber is considered the best product to detoxify and cleanse the gastrointestinal tract.
Consuming chocolate in adequate, responsible amounts will help your digestion by providing you with adequate amounts of fiber, which regulates water absorption. You see, having the right amount of water in your intestines is crucial to ensure that peristalsis (i.e., the contraction of the smooth muscles of your intestines) works properly. Additionally, the healthy vitamins and minerals found in chocolate optimize the function of intestinal cells and improve the process of selective absorption. In other words, your gut will be more careful about the type of ingredients it absorbs.
According to recent research, dark chocolate has proven to be a real star when it comes to digestion. Dark chocolate can optimize your digestion by allowing bacteria in your gut to ferment the fiber and antioxidants found in cocoa. Researchers noted that bacteria create anti-inflammatory compounds that lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and other inflammatory conditions (e.g., Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or IBD).
Studies have shown that the impact of cocoa on the body can’t be overlooked. The benefits of cocoa range from improving vascular health, to reversing insulin resistance, to the enhancement of metabolism, cognition, and even the immune system. Cocoa and dark chocolate are loaded in antioxidants that exceed the efficacy of other fruits, such as blueberries and acai berries, which is thought to drastically reduce the risk of many pathogens that can cause cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative ailments, and type-2 diabetes.
In addition, other studies have shown that raw chocolate can improve blood circulation, lipid metabolism, and cholesterol oxidation across the arterial system.
Yes, too much of a good thing can have a negative impact on your health. Chocolate is full of calories, and eating too much of it can feed your body with the wrong amount of the wrong calories that leads to weight gain. Chocolate is also high in sugar content, which can wreak havoc on your teeth and gums if they aren’t properly taken care of after eating chocolate and more importantly on a regular basis.
However, if you give your love - or even your significant other - a chocolate treat or two (or even a box of them) for Valentine’s Day, don’t beat yourself up, especially if they include dark chocolate. Indulging in the finer, tastier things in life is okay every once in a while, as long as we don’t make a habit out of it. Most importantly, find the gift - whether that is chocolate, jewelry, or amazing food - that shows them that they mean a lot to you. Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love, and you can do that by giving them gifts that are not only health-beneficial, but gifts that will mean the world to them.
If you have questions about your health, please schedule a visitwith one of our gastrointestinal specialists. Our desire is to educate, investigate, inform, and treat gastrointestinal illnesses so you can go on and live your best life possible! Schedule a visittoday.