chocolate

Chocolate is good for you. Not the most common description for our treasured cocoa confection, but thankfully, new research indicates that eating chocolate is, in fact, good for you. What a great time to be alive! Studies show that we no longer need to stress or hide our love for the gooey goodness. Today, I sit here, remembering times when it was frowned upon for you to stuff an entire Twix into your mouth all at once. The worry that came with said task could absolutely destroy the most incredible part of your day.  Fret not, in this argumentative essay, I intend to give you substantial proofs that support our marvelous findings. New research suggests that chocolate, mainly dark chocolate, has plenty of health benefits that rival those of green tea and the antioxidant beta-carotene, commonly known as Vitamin A, just to name a few.

Cocoa is a main ingredient in chocolate. Cocoa flavanols seem to have a positive effect on people’s brains. Eating this nutrient can reduce age-related cognitive dysfunctions such as forgetfulness, difficulty maintaining focus, and decreased solving capability. These precursors lead to more intensive diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Cocoa also has methylxanthines, which are plant-produced compounds that enhance concentration levels. If only I had this information in elementary school! Led by Dr. Anthony Shaughnessy, Ph. D., researchers at Mars, Incorporated, leaders in studies of cocoa, have identified specific flavanols in cocoa that are responsible for a range of health benefits, including those listed above. He states, “It’s no longer taboo to eat a moderate amount of dark chocolate, even up to a 1.6 ounce bar every day.” Who am I to ignore such advice?

More wonderful components of chocolate include phenols. Organic phenol compounds have antioxidant effects, which protect the body from “free radicals” – molecules that cause harm to us by killing our cells. No one want their cells killed, clearly we need them to sustain life. We also need our antioxidants to neutralize the damage that causes disease in our bodies. Thank goodness dark chocolate is widely available. Dom Ramsey, Chocolate Expert and author of Chocablog, suggests that there are so many health benefits of chocolate that he is investing in a company to create and distribute bean-to-bar chocolate for public consumption and 3-chocolate-logo3obviously, pure enjoyment. Bean-to-bar simply means the cocoa comes from a single estate under the care of one group of people, ensuring that the chocolate retains much of its bean – the healthy part. I, Rebecca Bohannon, call them the Chocolati. Heroes, in my opinion.

Dark chocolate lowers your blood-clotting risk. If your blood clots on the inside of your body, it can cause a stroke or heart attack. Studies at Johns Hopkins University, facilitated by researchers including Shyam Biswal, Ph. D, have proven that chocolate helps thin the blood, much like aspirin does. Dr. Biswal and team stay busy trying to test the positive effects of chocolate therapy. Can you think of a better blood thinner than chocolate, honestly? No one wants to clot and die. It’s also been concluded that the flavonoids (phytonutrients) found in chocolate mimic those found in almost all fruits and vegetables. Experts refer to the cocoa bean as a “super-fruit.” Cocoa powder and chocolate are made from an extract from the seeds of a cacao tree. When tested against other fruit powders, cacao powder had significantly greater levels of ORAC, TP and TF values. These acronyms are units of measurement for antioxidant values. I see absolutely no reason to choose fruit over chocolate when research clearly proves that cacao powder is a good thing. Cacao powder leads to cocoa, which leads to my favorite… chocolate. When consumed in moderation daily, the benefits outweigh the risk.

Regular chocolate eaters enjoy a host of benefits for their hearts. Chocolate eaters can lower their blood pressure, lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and have a lower risk of heart disease. Dark chocolate is heart-healthy because it has inflammation-fighting properties, which reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. With all of the deaths occurring out there, doesn’t it make more sense to just relax and eat a 1.6 ounce bar of chocolate – in moderation, daily?  Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death of most ethnicities in the United States, including African-Americans, Hispanics, and whites – it seems ridiculous not to start your morning with a 1.6 ounce piece of smooth, rich dark chocolate. It’s a dark, dark world out there. I’m pleased that we have dark, dark chocolate.

There is staunch opposition of the health benefits of chocolate. These ill-informed people have been convinced that chocolate is relatively high in fat. Excessive intake of sugars can adversely affect health, yes, but that doesn’t mean we can’t ingest chocolate into our bodies within moderation. Childhood obesity rates seem to support the opinions of the anti-chocolate groups. There is no direct proof that chocolate is the specific cause – when eaten in moderation. Children could simply be eating too many unhealthy carbohydrates. That’s not chocolate’s fault. Those opposed to chocolate also argue that it can cause eating disorders, as it’s addictive quality proves too much for some people. I disagree with these medical findings as I do not believe anything with chocolate in it can cause disorder, in any fashion – when taken moderately. Acne is a third and common point brought up by opposers. Experts across the board have dismissed this case years ago, as can be found throughout thousands of published research papers. There is simply no evidence that supports chocolate causes acne. Though I understand and encourage counterarguments, these reasons do not outweigh the benefits of eating chocolate. Simply encourage us to use moderation, and that is all that should be necessary. We needn’t ban it from our diets, as previously thought.

Posthaste, add chocolate to your shopping carts! It’s allowed. It’s legal. It stimulates brain activity and makes you feel good at the same time. Chocolate has phenols, which rid your body of “free radicals.” Chocolate contains antioxidants that can reduce your cancer risk and increase your blood flow. Research shows chocolate can help with forgetfulness and help you solve problems. Is there any further need to hide a dark chocolate Reese’s peanut butter cup in your pocket, just because someone walks by? No. Thanks to our brilliant researchers and people like the Chocolati, those days are gone.

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Works Cited

Shaughessy, Anthony, Ph. D. Mars, Incorporated. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/03/28/11-reasons-chocolate-is-good-for-your-health.html

Ramsey, Dom. “Chocablog.” https://damsonchocolate.com/pages/our-story. Accessed 6 November 2016.

Biswal, Shyam, Ph.D. Johns Hopkins University Resource Center, May 5, 2010. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/How_Dark_Chocolate_May_Guard_Against_Brain_Injury_From_Stroke. Accessed 6 November 2016.