The positive effects of chocolate

Published: March 1, 2017

Easter special to make you smile

Let’s take a break from the scary side of cancer for a moment, and talk about feeling good.

When you’re going through a tough time, it’s important to look for the little ‘pick me ups’ that make it easier to get through the day. And, if you’re anything like us, there’s no better cheer-up medicine than a bar of chocolate!

As well as tasting great, chocolate is proven to have some positive benefits – on both your health and your mood. As we head towards Easter, a time widely associated with candy and confectionery, it’s a great excuse to celebrate what’s so good about our favorite sweet treat…

Chocolate’s packed with minerals

If you’re going for maximum wellbeing, choose dark chocolate over milk and white varieties. It’s full of minerals to boost your health, including potassium, zinc and iron. In fact, a 100g bar of dark chocolate (containing at least 70% cacao, the bean from which chocolate is derived) provides two thirds of your recommended daily iron allowance.

It’s full of other good stuff too

You can find more than just immune-boosting minerals in dark chocolate. Its flavanols can protect your skin against sun damage, and they’ve also been proven to reduce memory loss in older people.

Chocolate can help fight diseases

There have been many scientific studies that show dark chocolate consumption can help reduce the chances of suffering conditions such as strokes, heart disease, diabetes and cardiovascular illnesses.

It can also helps to lower levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol, and even support your efforts to lose weight – as eating a square of chocolate 20 minutes before a meal sends signals to your brain, telling it that you are already full.

It boosts your mood

If you feel better when you’ve had a bar of chocolate, it’s not purely in your head. Chocolate contains a chemical called phenylethylamine (PEA), which releases endorphins; similar to the chemical reaction that happens in your brain when you fall in love.

The chemicals found in chocolate also have the added bonus of keeping your gut happy!

Chocolate is anti-ageing

The cacao that chocolate is made from encourages your system to create new mitochondria; the powerhouses within your body’s cells that digest nutrients and create energy – otherwise known as cellular respiration.

Healthy mitochondria enable cells to rejuvenate more effectively, helping you to remain youthful.

Enjoying chocolate when you’re fighting cancer

As we’ve shown, there are many positive reasons to eat chocolate, especially when you’re feeling vulnerable. And there are plenty of ways to consume it; from bars, to liquid, to a dessert.

However, as with any sweet treat, it’s important not to over-indulge, and to enjoy chocolate as part of a balanced diet. You should look for candy with a higher cacao content – usually found in dark chocolate – as this contains less sugar, and therefore there’s room for more health-boosting benefits.

What’s your favourite kind of chocolate? Share your opinions on our Facebook page.

If you have any questions about cold capping, or anything else related to your chemo treatment, why not join the Facebook Chemotherapy Support Group – with thousands of members reaching out to each other, someone will no doubt be able to offer you first hand advice.