08 October 2010

Some foods you should eat – Part 2

This is about chocolate. Do I hear cheers? Just be very cautious with this food! You need to eat dark chocolate. Worry more about the calories than the other ingredients as this will cause weight gain if you ignore them in your calorie count for the day. So like many foods, planning is the key so that you are allowed treats like dark chocolate.

Another key often not mentioned in most articles is exercise. Exercise, even moderate exercise has a positive effect in lowing blood glucose and cholesterol. For those able to do more strenuous types of exercise, this will help even more. Always make sure that your doctor knows that you are exercising, as he may want to have some input and may have knowledge that may limit the amount of exercise when starting, or because of a lab test result may want to limit your exercise.

Many people with type 2 diabetes are able to have small quantities of dark chocolate. This is not a license to gorge yourself. You don't need the consequences of too much sugar. I urge you to plan for it and keep the carbs in your meal down to allow for this treat.

One of the biggest health benefits from dark chocolate is the flavonoids which act as antioxidants which help protect your body from the aging caused by free radicals. The free radicals can cause the damage leading to heart disease. Dark chocolate has more antioxidants by almost eight times the number found in strawberries.

Flavonoids also help reduce blood pressure by producing nitric oxide and balance certain hormones in the body. Besides being good for your diabetes if planned for, dark chocolate is good for your heart. First, it does help lower blood pressure and second, it has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol.

Other benefits are – it tastes good, it stimulates endorphin production, it contains serotonin which acts as an anti-depressant, and it has theobromine, caffeine, and other stimulants which may not be all that favorable.

While only one third of dark chocolate is bad for you (saturated fat), the real problem is eating too much. Dark chocolate is high calorie, high-fat food. The recommendation is that you limit you chocolate to 100 grams or about 3.5 ounces per day to get the maximum benefits. It is not stopping with this that causes the problems. The 100 grams is about 200 calories. So adjust you other calories to allow for the chocolate treat.

I will tell you to avoid the milk chocolate and white chocolate. They are not healthy and the dark chocolate has about 65 percent cocoa content. Look for the pure dark chocolate or dark chocolate with nuts, orange peel, or a few other flavorings. Avoid anything with caramel, nougat, or other fillings. I will also warn you not to wash the chocolate down with a glass of milk as this can prevent the antioxidants being used by the body.

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