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Wednesday, May 31, 2023


Holiday treats not as bad as you think

The holidays are almost here, candy is everywhere and the best of them all — dark chocolate — is actually nutritionally beneficial.

This decadent treat is low in sugar, closer to its natural form, and hosts a bevy of benefits. It is also rich in antioxidants like polyphenols (also found in red wine and green tea) which help protect against heart disease. For those keeping their heart health in mind and blood pressure in check, forget the daily low-dose of aspirin, dark chocolate does the same thing as aspirin when consumed regularly.

Don’t take this as a free-for-all at the candy counter though. As with everything else you ingest, moderation is key.

Half an ounce is all it takes to reap the benefits of the sweet simplicity that is dark chocolate. However, there are down sides too like sugar, fat, cream and flavorings — additives which make it taste good.

In terms of other psychological and physiological benefits, chocolate contains theobromine, a close relative of caffeine and a mild mood enhancer. It also contains Phenethylamine, which triggers the pleasurable endorphins to release and increase the potency of dopamine — a chemical associated with sexual arousal and pleasure.

It contains anadamides which produce a sensation of elation and exhilaration, and boosts serotonin levels which are notably low in women who experience PMS and in people dealing with depression. Entire classes of anti-depressants have been created to do the same thing at a higher level.

When business major Jason Dickinson was in junior high, he said that a Holocaust survivor visited his school and told of the day he was released from Auschwitz.

He told students that he remembered one of the soldiers helping them gave him a Snicker’s bar and that it tasted like heaven. That story stuck with Dickinson and he still enjoys a Snicker’s bar every now and then, but said “chocolate is better all by itself.”

In the end, chocolate is good, good for you and good for everyone around you — both inside and out.

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