I eat it every day. I justify the cost by reminding myself of the health benefits. High quality dark chocolate (> 60% cacao) with minimal sugar can be an expensive habit. A dark chocolate bar can run from $3-9 but it’s a lot cheaper than being on a statin or having a cardiac stress test. Seriously. There are multiple medical studies demonstrating the cardiovascular benefits of dark chocolate. One even shows that if we all spent around $42 a year on dark chocolate, we could save a lot of money on treating heart disease. Who’s in?
How does dark chocolate help prevent disease?
Dark chocolate has a high content of polyphenols which are believed to help reduce inflammation, control insulin levels, and lower blood pressure. Gretchen Reynolds at the New York Times reviewed the latest science behind dark chocolate consumption today in “Why Chocolate Is Good for Us”. She quotes several new studies that examine how cocoa powder is digested. Cocoa is slowly broken down as it passes through the stomach, small intestine and finally the colon, resulting in multiple substances released along the way that help prevent disease. Bacteria in our gut appear to be critical in breaking down the cocoa to release these healthy compounds.
Consider adding a square or two of dark chocolate to your diet a day – especially if you are concerned about inflammation or heart disease. My latest chocolate crush: Alter Eco Dark Quinoa bars. Love the deep chocolate with crispy quinoa, and Alter Eco practices Fair Trade – another reason to enjoy chocolate!
Dr. Norleena Gullett is a Radiation Oncologist at Erlanger Cancer Institute in Chattanooga, TN. In addition to her medical expertise, she strives to offer emotional, psychological, and spiritual support in her care for her patients. She prides herself on treating you, the whole person, with the best care possible.