I’ll Have That With Chocolate, Please.

As you probably know by now, I pay attention to health and diet, try to keep up with the latest studies and read the Berkeley Wellness newsletter. Temptation is everywhere and it’s easy to succumb, whether that means indulging in a decadent dessert at a Beverly Hills restaurant or grabbing a fast food bite between showings. So when the science gives its blessing to the temptation, that’s what I call a happy place!

For some time now, scientific researchers have been examining the effects of chocolate on our bodies – on cardiovascular health and cognitive function, including memory, on cholesterol, stress levels, skin, and feelings of well-being. A Berkeley Wellness article in 2012 celebrated the latest findings: “cocoa can also aid the brain.”

Most studies suggest that the benefits of chocolate can be credited to the increased blood flow in the brain caused by flavanols, which are also found in blueberries, green tea, red wine and tomatoes, among other foods. While some of the early studies left something to be desired, the bottom line is that minimally processed dark chocolate produced the most positive results.

What’s more, the studies continue and recent results affirm the early findings. A January 2017 article in Forbes outlined nine good reasons to be eating dark chocolate, and a March article in Science Daily talks about ongoing research at Clarkson University that examines the “effects of brewed cocoa consumption on attention, motivation to perform cognitive work and feelings of anxiety, energy and fatigue” and found that “cocoa lessens caffeine’s anxiety-producing effects”!

Of course, we can’t live on chocolate alone, and studies continue to support the benefits of a Mediterranean diet.

As for me, I think the answer is a cup of flavonoid-rich Mars Hot Chocolate every day, along with green tea!

Joyce Rey
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