Chocolate is in a class of its own
Some say that chocolate is a fruit since it comes from a cacao tree in the tropics. Some also insist that anything covered in chocolate has to be good for you.
Chocolate is a very popular food that is often misunderstood. It is part taste and part memory. When the world comes crashing down around you this divinely delicious candy is cheaper than therapy. It is a warm fuzzy for the belly and pure ecstasy from the ancient gods of Montezuma. Chocolate is to food as silk is to clothing.
There is a blend of more than 500 flavors in chocolate. This is more than two and a half times more flavors found in any other foods. Its sensory properties are unmatched by anything else that we eat. Since it is such a unique plant product, its taste and popularity cannot be compared. Chocolate is in a class by itself.
Throughout history chocolate has been linked to many health claims. Recent medical studies reveal that chocolate has nothing to do with acne; hormones are the culprits. Dentists currently agree that compared to other sugary treats, chocolate is actually part of a preventative dental program. Cocoa butter in the chocolate coats the teeth and prevents tooth decay. It can also kill the harmful streptococcal bacteria that lead to plaque on your teeth.
Consciously avoiding chocolate can cause a craving. Although experts report that there is no such thing as a chocolate addiction; many people become compulsive choco-lovers. They crave and are hooked on the smooth, rich, flavorful delicacy.
Moderation is the key when eating chocolate. It is considered a low in nutrient density food; meaning there is more fat and sugar than healthy benefits. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans states that the greater the consumption of foods or beverages that are low in nutrient density, the more difficult it is to consume enough nutrients without gaining weight, especially for sedentary individuals.
Mindfully savoring chocolate is the ideal way to enjoy it. Mindlessly swallowing multiple handfuls of M&Ms is why the company made them into small bits. The little crunchy morsels of chocolately sweetness satisfy the senses. Allowing a single piece to melt in the mouth is a healthier way to enjoy chocolate.
Let the chocolate essence cover your teeth and slowly slide down your throat. If you are just chewing and swallowing chocolate, you are not appreciating the full bouquet of flavor that this indulgence allows. Make it last because moderation is the key.
As far as identifying chocolate as a fruit, now that is a far stretch of the truth. The less sugar and fat, the healthier it will be. The amount of smooth goodness on the palate will also determine the value to the body.
Bathing in chocolate can get sticky. Swallowing small amounts will enhance health. Anything surrounded in chocolate is worth a try. Some cultures mix it with cinnamon and hot peppers. Mix it with raisins, nuts or coconut for a true treat.
Bobbie Randall is a certified diabetes educator and a registered, licensed dietitian. She supervises a diabetes self-management training program at Aultman-Orrville Hospital, Orrville. Contact her at email@example.com or 330–684-4776.