Eating Chocolate Can Help Cancer Patients!
Hello lovely you,
Eating chocolate can help cancer patients! Does that make sense? Maybe?
Eat chocolate can help cancer patients and may be music to most peoples’ ears, but words you don’t hear very often. I am suggesting that you eat more chocolate, provided it’s the right kind.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, more stores are lining their shelves with all kinds of shiny-wrapped chocolate confections. My teeth hurt just walking down the candy aisle at my local CVS store! But while these chocolates may be delicious, and okay yes, many of them are, they are B.A.D. for your health and you should absolutely avoid them.
But here’s the good news: dark chocolate offers many health benefits, even to those battling cancer. So there is no reason why you can’t enjoy some dark chocolate this V-day and throughout the year.
Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate for Cancer
Before I get into the actual benefits, I want to make a couple of things very clear. First, I am ONLY talking about dark chocolate here. Do not start shoving Hershey’s kisses in your face telling everyone, “Prue told me to eat more chocolate.” No, Prue told you to eat more DARK chocolate.
Second, while dark chocolate is considered a superfood, the actual benefits come from the coca bean. Sadly, many dark chocolate bars contain very little actual cocoa. But don’t worry, at the end of this blog post I’m going to tell you how to buy the absolute healthiest dark chocolate bars on the market. Okay, now onto those health benefits…
Phytochemicals Protect Against Disease
The most powerful chemicals found in cocoa are called phytochemicals. These have been found to protect against heart disease. But recent research also suggest phytochemicals may also reduce your risk of developing cancer, and even slow the growth of cancer cells.
Neutralize Free Radical Damage
We know that cancer and other diseases stem from free radicals. These free radicals can damage our genetic material, which ultimately leads to mutations and the risk of developing cancer and other disease.
Again, some studies have found that eating dark chocolate on a regular basis can prevent this genetic damage and the subsequent development of cancer. There have also been promising studies that used cocoa powder and cocoa extract to stop the growth of cancer cells in the lab. This study used a specific flavonoid found in cocoa called procyanidin.
Lowers Blood Pressure
And speaking of flavonoids, the main flavonoid in cocoa is called flavonol, and studies have shown these have the ability to lower blood pressure and improve blood flow. They have also been shown to reduce “bad” cholesterol.
A Natural Mood Booster for Cancer Patients
It goes without saying that a diagnosis of cancer can cause a person to become depressed and experience anxiety. The last thing they need is to take prescription medications for depression and anxiety on top of their cancer treatments. Especially since most prescription medications come with nasty side effects.
Multiple studies have shown that cocoa actually boosts mood. It is believed that dark chocolate increases the level of feel good chemicals in the brain like endorphins and serotonin. For cancer patients facing the challenges of living with a serious illness, dark chocolate may provide a much-welcomed relief.
Polyphenols Are Found In Dark Chocolate
Polyphenols are found most abundantly in whole foods such as dried spices, fruits, vegetables, red wine, and cocoa (chocolate!)
Polyphenols play an important role in preventing the progression of diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases.
Polyphenols are a prebiotic, increasing the ratio of beneficial bacteria in your gut, which is important for health, weight management, and disease prevention.
Listen to what my friend Dr. Barry Sears, New York Times Best Seller of The Zone Diet has to say about Polyphenols.
All in Moderation
Of course, the key to reaping the benefits of dark chocolate is to eat it in moderation. While dark chocolate offers some profound health benefits, eating 5 pounds of it a day is not healthy, for obvious reasons. Even the healthier dark chocolate bars have fat and sugar, and to consume too much can lead to weight gain and negative health outcomes.
So how much should you eat a day?
Try to aim for 1 to 2 ounces a day. Make this a special part of your day. Maybe after meditating you could end by nibbling on a dark chocolate square. Make it your special treat each day, don’t stuff your face with it!
How to Buy the Healthiest Dark Chocolate Bars
When you buy the right kind of dark chocolate, you ensure you are getting fewer added ingredients and the most percentage of cocoa possible. Always read the label to see what is in the bar. Some bars tout they have 70% cocoa, and they may, but when you read the ingredients you may see some you don’t want.
Obviously the higher the percentage of cocoa the better, but if the percentage is too high it will be too bitter to eat. Aim for a bar that offers between 75% and 85% cocoa. These will offer high cocoa content but not be so bitter you can’t get it down.
This Valentine’s Day, and for the rest of the year, treat yourself with something that will boost your overall health. Avoid picking up bags of milk chocolate candies that will only help feed the cancer and not give you any health benefits. Ask your family to only give you dark chocolate from now on, and be sure to eat it in moderation. If you follow this advice you will not only be able to have a tasty treat each day, you will help your journey back to health.
Wishing you love and healing on Valentine’s Day. Enjoy your chocolate treat!