Chocolate – the good, the bad and the ugly!
It’s up there as one of the most widely consumed products in the world, possibly a very good contender as a woman’s best friend when diamonds are just too expensive – chocolate. The very mention of the word has most of us craving it and with Easter just past, chocolate is on all our minds, in our bellies, on our kids’ faces, melted and made into buns, in disguise as bunnies with ears ready to be bitten off…
- Chocolate is choc-a-bloc (hee hee!) packed full of anti-oxidants, those powerful little beings that eliminate free radicals from our bodies. Free radicals can wreak havoc on our systems if allowed to build up, they accelerate ageing and contribute to disease. Studies have also shown that diets high in antioxidants can help prevent heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, cholesterol, arthritis and Alzheimer’s to name but a few.
- Chocolate contains fat, however less than one third is the bad kind of fat, and the remaining fats are actually beneficial to our bodies.
- Chocolate promotes feel good hormones when we eat it. A 1996 study by Middlesex University has revealed that even the aroma of chocolate can help induce relaxation.
- Chocolate contains sugar and empty calories. There’s just no getting around it.
- One bar of chocolate contains a third of the caffeine in a cup of coffee – kids and too many Easter eggs is a recipe for disaster when you combine all that sugar with all that caffeine.
- Only chocolate with a cocoa percentage greater than 70% has all those wonderful benefits listed above, this is because the chocolate is closer to the actual cocoa bean in its natural state, meaning only 30% of that chocolate bar can be made up the bad stuff – fat, sugar, milk, cream, etc.
- One Cadbury’s Creme Egg will take you approximately 42mins to power walk off, 20 minutes of intense exercise, one hour of bowling, or 30mins of light cycling according to an accredited personal trainer.
Easter is a time of celebration, one day of indulgence is not going to hurt you greatly, just stop after one! If, however, you have over-indulged, panic not, help is on it’s way…
Eat plenty of fibre rich foods to help eliminate that junk food from your system – think apples, pears (fantastic for the bowels), wholegrain cereal, berries, vegetables, brown rice. Ensure you increase your water intake to help the extra fibre work its magic and to help beat the bloat. It may sound crazy, but water retention and bloating are actually aided by drinking MORE not less water as it will flush out your system.
Aim to eat well for the next 5 meals after each bad one – high in protein and lots of vegetables, this will help to balance our your blood sugar levels which means resisting that Galaxy Easter egg just got a whole lot easier. Flex your will power, like any other muscle in your body, will power increases in strength the more you use it, making it easier to say no to foods you know will leave you feeling less than terrific.
Exercise for 30mins daily as blood sugar crashes will leave you lethargic and sluggish, the natural high released from exercise will counteract this.
LISA’S TIP: Eating a few small squares of dark chocolate at the end of a meal can help stop over indulgence as you feel fuller and want less of it compared to milk chocolate. It can also help to signal the end of a meal to your brain and generate a feeling of satiety.
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