At our recent journal club meeting we discussed a fun and hopeful article by Dr. Cody Meissner (one of my professor’s in my early year’s as a physician in training) from the AAP News February 2016 page 7. Let’s start this article with some questions:
- True or False; Chocolate with a high Cocoa concentration is the healthiest but also the most bitter. TRUE! Chocolate, derived from the Theobroma Cacao seeds, contains dietary flavonoids and the higher the concentration of flavonoids, the more bitter the chocolate. Milton Hershey revolutionized the process of making milk chocolate which made it available for everyone.
- True or False; Consumption of two chocolate squares a day for four weeks is likely to result in a reduction in serum low-density lipoprotein level (or LDL, the bad cholesterol). TRUE! A study in 2008 revealed regular consumption of cocoa flavanol containing chocolate bars (dark or milk chocolate) significantly lowered total and LDL levels. In case you’re wondering about weight gain when eating all this chocolate, rest assured; A study done in 2012 (Golomb BA, et al. Arch Intern Med 2012; 172:519-521) demonstrated adults who consumed chocolate more frequently had a lower body mass index (less body fat) than those who consumed less chocolate – this is GREAT!
- True or False; Chocolate is brain food. The more chocolate eaten per capita the higher the number of Nobel Laureates. TRUE! Dietary flavonoids have been shown to improve cognition and reduce the risk of dementia. One study demonstrated a strong relationship between chocolate consumption per person and the number of Nobel Laureates per 10 million people in 23 countries (Messerli FH. New Engl J Med. 2012;367:1562-1564).
- True or False; “Regular consumption of flavanol-rich chocolate has been shown to lower blood pressure by a statistically significant amount.” TRUE! This relationship has been shown in several studies. In one study, cocoa intake “is inversely associated not only with lower blood pressure but also all-cause and cardiovascular mortality”.
- True or False; Dark chocolate is helpful for people with iron deficiency anemia. TRUE! Chocolate is a good source or iron.
So, who knew something as tasty as chocolate, eaten in moderation, is good for you in so many ways? EAT YOUR CHOCOLATE!
MacKoul Pediatrics is an amazing local pediatrics office in Cape Coral, FL where caring, compassionate doctors and nurses work with you to keep your children as healthy as possible. MacKoul cares for children from birth to college age, from Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Naples, and beyond.
March 26, 2016