Is Dark Chocolate Good For You?
The association confirmed that cocoa has been proven to show a decrease in high blood pressure, thus giving more vitality to the heart and allowing the blood to flow more effectively around the body. It was also found that chocolate prevents fat build up in the arteries.
But before you go reaching for the Dairy Milk, as you may already know, dark chocolate is much better for you than the really "good kind" chocolate. This is because the production methods to create milk chocolate filter out flavonoids, which are supposedly beneficial for you. These are also found in red wine, strawberries, peanuts and tea amongst other things.
Is Chocolate healthy for people with ME/CFS ?
In the past, it was advised that Myalgic Encephalopathy (ME) patients or those with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) should keep away from foods such as chocolate, fearing that it would only aggravate symptoms of ME/CFS and make the patient feel worse. U.S ME specialist, Chuck Lapp, M.D was also amongst the professionals who had upheld this original theory.
“I’ve always recommended that PWCs avoid sugar, caffeine, alcohol, Nutrasweet and tobacco,” said Lapp, director of the Hunter Hopkins Center in Charlotte, NC. These items are not tolerated well. PWCs tend to have hypoglycemia, and eating refined sugar – like chocolate candy – triggers reactive hypoglycemia, or a ‘let down’ in energy a couple of hours later. And the cocoa used in cake, for example, doesn’t contain refined sugar, but has a caffeine-like effect.”
The health Benefits of cacao
However, upon reflection, it was possible to see how cocoa could be good for ME/CFS. Not only does it have a medical element to moderate high blood pressure and elements associated with that, but it has a lot of psychological effects too. Chocolate always makes you feel good! Not only that, but it gives you an energy boost, lightens your mood and relieves stress.
Of course much has been speculated over the years about the psychology of ME/CFS and how to live with debilitating symptoms.
As an ME patient myself - I prefer the word patient rather than sufferer as for me, it defines that my ME is not in control of me but I of it - I have often studied the benefits of a number of things. Not usually chocolate, but certainly the way we see illness.
Cancer and other such illnesses maybe beyond our control as a non-medical professional, but the way we deal with it and what I call 'package,' can add many benefits, and at the most, a longer, healthier life.
Once the brain is healthy and sound with focus and direction then the body will follow. We know the saying ‘mind over matter?’ I do believe it to be true and not just in a minor sense but in everything.
It has been one of those things – and certainly something we have always said in England ‘when in a crisis or in ill health, we go and put the kettle on!’ The benefit of having a warm drink has been used for almost everything ever since man figured out that it was a good thing to do – add hot water to something! People tell us it got them through war, death and times of darkness, sorrow, ill health and shocks. It eases the mind, slows the heart rate and makes the brain and body focus on something inside rather than something painful on the outside.
I am an avid fan of drinking hot chocolate, although you might know it as another name in America. What I find really helps me is the proper stuff - the Swiss dark drinking chocolate with all the goodness still in it without the huge amounts of sugar! It is, I will admit, a different taste to what you would consider as real chocolate, but it is still very heart warming and good to drink with little or no milk added.
Are the health benefits of chocolate psychological?
It is here that I question if the health benefits are essentially psychological. When the person is drinking the hot drink, the feeling of the drink moving down into your stomach has a very comforting feeling. The drinker can almost imagine the drink floating around every artery! It gives us a good feeling - a warm glow. It is very difficult to feel negative when you are drinking something like chocolate that has such a positive effect on you.
There are a number of things that we can do to stimulate good feelings in us to make us feel good, feel happy and above all, feel better. It is the latter which we put a strong element of what we wish to achieve on.
To feel better is to feel washed of all negativity, be it physical or emotional. So, the benefits of warm drinks, such as tea, could be said to have benefits for those who are not only suffering with ME, but with any other illness or ailment which have similar symptoms.