With Valentine's day just behind us, and me still with a lingering cough, I started thinking about chocolate. What does a cough have to do with chocolate???
Let me tell you some great properties of chocolate!
- Chocolate contains a decent amount of iron, magnesium, copper, and manganese.
- Chocolate contains antioxidants called flavanols which have been shown to slightly lower blood pressure and according to the British Medical Journal they also lower a persons risk of heart disease.
- Chocolate contains a compound called theobromine that was shown in a study in the UK to be more effective than codeine for supressing a cough.
- Chocolate has demulcent properties, so sucking on a square of chocolate might also help reduce coughing.
All the being said, it's important to note that unsweetened chocolate and cocoa have the most health benefits and by the time we get to milk and white chocolate the benefits are really negligible. Moreover, chocolate that we normally consume contains quite a bit of sugar and many calories - so as you heal your cough or try to lower your blood pressure, you might be gaining some unnecessary weight and be depressing your immune system with the extra sugar consumption.
So, is chocolate healthy? Not healthy enough to eat it every day if you ask me. As a Naturopathic Doctor, I eat chocolate as a treat and think of it as a treat rather than as something that I'm doing for my health. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having treats, but I don't advocate having them on a daily basis. Eat more fruits & vegetables if you want to increase your antioxidant intake and lower your risk of heart disease!