Satisfy a sweet tooth craving by eating a handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips! Sounds too good to be true, the good news is it’s true. James Beckerman, M.D, a cardiologist at the providence Heart and Vascular Institute in Portland, Oregon and the author of The Flex Diet, eats a handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips when he gets a sugar craving. So whenever your having a sweet tooth craving, grab a handful of semi-sweet chocolates.
Recent research from the European Heart Journal found that people who consumed the most chocolate reduced their risk for cardiovascular disease and strokes compared with nonchocoholics. “I’m a firm believer that if you like something, don’t try to make a substitution that you won’t enjoy as much,” Dr. Beckerman says. “You can have a small portion as long as 90 percent of what you eat otherwise is healthy.”
THE BENEFITS OF CHOCOLATE
Cocoa contains a polyphenol antioxidant called epicatechin, similar to the ones found in red wine and many types of other berries. This is the ingredient that is said to provide many of the health benefits of chocolate, so the higher the percentage of cocoa, the more health benefits the chocolate has. Semi-sweet chocolate contains more cocoa than milk chocolate, but of course milk chocolate has a milder, sweeter taste than dark chocolate. Semisweet chocolate also has a bit lower calorie count than milk chocolate, so you may have to compromise with dark semi-sweet over milk chocolate in order to receive the full benefits.
Studies have shown that chocolate has many benefits, it can lower blood pressure, decrease cholesterol levels, can lower the possibility of heart disease, has a good amount of iron, may decrease the the symptoms of migraines, protects against dementia, and raise serotonin levels, which can alleviate depression. However, this benefit is in semi-sweet dark chocolate, the saturated fat provided by milk solids in milk chocolate negates some of the benefits, making semisweet or dark chocolate a much better choice.