To all the mothers and grandmothers out there who tirelessly wipe away tears, fix boo-boos, boost morale, and provide shoulders to lean on… you have my undying gratitude!
Although I don’t have any human kids, I am a pup “parent” to Macy, a Shetland sheepdog, and Chance, a dachshund mix – so I know what it’s like to worry about little ones, even if mine are the furry kind who walk on four legs!
The mothers in our lives may only get one day of official appreciation, but there’s a gift we can give them any day – and it’s one that will serve them well all year long!
It’s chocolate – but not the kind found in your typical “sampler” box.
The kind of chocolate I’m talking about is a whole lot different – a true gift from God that’s as delicious as it is healing. It can help to elevate her mood, fight stress, put a lid on inflammation, play a role in keeping her memory sharp… and even help her see things more clearly!
I know that you’ve heard good news about chocolate before, but some just-out research has taken earlier findings to a whole new level of bliss!
How healthy it is!
Who would have ever thought that something long considered to be a dietary vice would turn out to be loaded with health benefits?
Well, thanks a trio of new studies, we’re learning even more about the many ways in which eating dark chocolate is actually amazingly good for us.
Two of these, both done by researchers out of California’s Loma Linda University, focused not only on how the flavonoids found in this “superfood” are known for their anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant activities… but also how they can improve your memory and ability to think.
For that, the research team used an EEG (which measures electrical activity in the brain) to actually visualize how the brain responds after eating dark chocolate.
Now, these scientists didn’t bother with your plain ol’ Hershey bars or Godiva milk chocolate – they gave the participants chocolate that contained 70 percent cacao. Cacao is similar to cocoa, but it’s minimally processed and heated at a much lower temperature, which helps retain much of its nutritional value.
And they found that eating dark chocolate enhanced neuroplasticity, or the ability of the brain to better adjust to stimuli by forming new connections between cells.
The even better news is that the amounts consumed by the study participants (in the name of science, of course!) were the same as those found in regular-sized chocolate bars. And the higher the concentration of cacao, the greater the benefits.
Meanwhile, a team of scientists in Texas conducted a small study on 30 young adults, the results of which were published in JAMA Opthamology.
That test (also for the sake of scientific discovery!) consisted of each volunteer eating a 1.5- ounce bar of either dark or milk chocolate. In only two hours, members of the dark chocolate group scored better on a batch of eye tests, including making out those teensy letters on a standard eye chart.
Researchers then switched the groups for good measure, and they still found that the dark chocolate eaters had better “high-contrast visual acuity.”
Of course, there’s the little matter that chocolate, even high-quality dark chocolate, also contains a good amount of sugar.
While you’ll find that an organic dark chocolate bar will probably have much less sugar than your typical Hershey’s treat, there’s another way to get these benefits while slashing the sugar content even further.
Purchase some unsweetened organic cacao powder online or at a health food store. It has all those same health benefits and is only around 30 calories per tablespoon. Mix it into a smoothie, sprinkle it on your oatmeal, or use it to bake a treat with nuts and honey or maple syrup as a sweetener.
There’s still time to get your hands on some, find a delicious recipe, and whip up a healthy chocolate treat for all of the moms in your life.
That could be the very best present of all – and certainly the healthiest!
“New studies show dark chocolate consumption reduces stress and inflammation, while improving memory, immunity and mood” Loma Linda University Health, April 24, 2018, news.llu.edu