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You Are Wrong About Chocolate…

You Are Wrong About Chocolate…

I have to make a confession. I am a chocoholic! I promise that this article will be as balanced as possible but if there is some bias, I am sure you will forgive me.

The Aztecs and the Mayan people of Central America highly valued the cacao plant and its seeds. It seems that the Nahuatl language had the word ‘xocolatl’ for a cocoa drink which means ‘bitter water’.

Interesting also to look at who eats the most chocolate globally. The Germans are top of the list as their annual per capita consumption is a whopping 11.39 kg (25.11 lbs) while the US consumption is less than half of that at 5.09 kg (11.22 lbs).

There are lots of myths about chocolate and we were all told that chocolate could make you obese, give you acne, toothache and headaches, not to mention insomnia!

It’s time to debunk some of these myths and get the facts right. You will be pleasantly surprised.

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1. Chocolate will keep you awake

The people who spout this myth are trying to tell you that chocolate contains loads of caffeine and that is going to give you a sleepless night! This is false, as the actual amount of caffeine in a chocolate bar is about the same as that of a cup of decaffeinated coffee. The cocoa bean contains only about 0.5% caffeine while dry coffee beans have 1.2% caffeine.

2. Chocolate makes kids bounce off the walls

This is an interesting myth, because the fact is that parents were expecting their kids to be hyper after a sugar or chocolate fix and so they were, according to them. The reality was quite different as the BBC discovered. There is no firm evidence to show that too many sweet things will make the kids bounce off the walls.

Choctruffles

    3. Chocolate could give you a stroke

    Recent studies have turned this on top of its head. Provided you eat moderate amounts of dark chocolate (74% of cocoa solids), you could cut the risk of stroke by 22%. Those people who did get a stroke (not from eating chocolate!) were 45% less likely to die if they had consumed moderate amounts of chocolate on a regular basis.

    4. Chocolate will give you acne

    Teenagers are usually told this but there is no scientific evidence at all that this is the case. If there is too much sebum, then this could block pores and lead to acne. But all the studies done so far have debunked this theory and there is simply not enough evidence to support it. There were 21 studies done and not one of them was able to point the finger at chocolate although dairy products did not do too well. Just have some dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate!

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    5. Chocolate will give you cavities

    They say this because chocolate has a high sugar content, although you can sidestep that issue by going for dark chocolate instead of white or milk chocolate which are usually sweeter. But the great thing about chocolate is that it melts quickly in the mouth, so that there is not much time for bacteria to form which might cause cavities. Actually, the cocoa butter acts as a sort of protective barrier which also prevents the bacteria getting the upper hand. Fluoride is also one element in chocolate and that is also useful in protecting teeth, as we know.

    hotchoc

      6. Chocolate is an aphrodisiac

      Lots of old wives’ tales about the power of chocolate as a sexual stimulant but there is no scientific evidence to back it up at all. Casanova is thought to have been a great fan of chocolate but studies have not shown that chocolate can affect your libido or sexual prowess in any way.

      7. Chocolate will not affect your mood in any way

      Your good mood depends on the serotonin chemical, which works as a neurotransmitter, which can help boost your mood and avoid mood swings. This may be a problem for women going through the menopause. Now, chocolate can help because it contains tryptophan which can stimulate the production of serotonin, so the positive effects on mood are notable.

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      Chocsouffle

        8. Chocolate will make you fat

        Yes, it will, if you eat lots and lots of it! But in moderation, chocolate can help you in many ways. For example, did you know that a single portion of 70% chocolate can give you the same amount of protein that you would get from a cup of broccoli? It also can give you fiber and also some of the healthy fats in the cocoa butter. All this means that you feel full and you are not subject to so many cravings.

        Chocolate also has polyphenols together with tryptophan which can improve your mood. It also makes you feel less stressed out and that can make the whole weight loss adventure more relaxed. In addition, chocolate contains epicatechin which boosts the metabolism, which will help you to burn off calories.

        9. Chocolate can be bad for your cholesterol

        Not true at all. Some fatty acids are good for you, others are not. Let us have a look at which fats are in chocolate. Most of it comes from the cocoa butter. There are three different types. One is oleic acid which is also found in olive oil and is actually great for your heart . The other one is palmitic acid (about 33%) which can increase the bad cholesterol (LDL) and clog up arteries. The good news though is that main fatty acid in chocolate is stearic acid and it seems to have a neutral effect on cholesterol, and does not have any effect on the LDL or HDL levels. So, having chocolate in moderate quantities is not going to affect your cholesterol one way or the other. Did you know that a serving of unsweetened cocoa has 0 grams of saturated fat?

        10. Chocolate could give you a heart attack

        Another myth still doing the rounds! But guess what studies carried out by Harvard University School of Public Health showed? They looked at 136 studies on chocolate and its effects on cardiovascular health. All these studies seem to suggest that there is a lower risk of heart disease when chocolate is part of your diet, again in moderate quantities. They found that it lowered blood pressure and also had an anti inflammatory function, both important for a healthy heart.

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        choc cake

          11. Chocolate can become an addiction

          Don’t worry – my chocolate habit is under control! But many people are convinced that you can become addicted to it. This would be true if you started eating several bars a day and also which type you were hooked on.

          The fact is the addictive elements, such as theobromine and cannabinoids, are present in chocolate but in very small quantities. In order to become addicted you would have to eat up to 17 ozs of it every day for quite a while!

          Now that we have debunked the 11 most notorious myths about chocolate, why not tell us why you like chocolate so much?

          Featured photo credit: various chocolates as a background – sweet food via shutterstock.com

          More by this author

          Robert Locke

          Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

          Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart 10 Reasons Why People Are Unmotivated (And How to Be Motivated) 12 Secrets To a Super Productive Meeting You Should Know What Your Fear of Being Alone Is Really About and How to Get over It 10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

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          Last Updated on December 9, 2019

          5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

          5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

          Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

          Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

          Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

          1. Get Rationally Optimistic

          Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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          This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

          In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

          The result: no more mental stress.

          2. Unplug

          Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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          How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

          It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

          Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

          3. Easy on the Caffeine

          Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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          Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

          4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

          That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

          How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

          • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
          • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
          • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

          While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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          5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

          This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

          The result: mental stress will be gone!

          So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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          Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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