Tuesday, February 14, 2017

"Another Item We Enjoy Consuming Is Beneficial For Us"

It's appropriate on Valentine's Day that we look at two items that many of us enjoy consuming - some of us more than others - that have proven to be good for us also: coffee and chocolate. Chocolate is frequently given as a gift or consumed by the recipient of the gift on Valentine's Day.

It's not too often we find that science supports our desires and actually reinforces them. There are too many instances of studies that show that we shouldn't eat or drink this item or that, that something contributes to high blood pressure or heart disease, that something will make us gain weight, that something places us at a greater risk of contracting a certain ailment or condition, and on it goes.

Coffee- especially black coffee - comes out the winner in every recent study that has been conducted to show us that we are drinking too much of it or that it has harmful effects, Just the opposite turns out to be true. Coffee should be consumed, and the more the better it turns out.

Coffee has been shown to be good for our mood, our mental health, our blood pressure, warding off certain diseases (such as Alzheimer's), circulation, and many other positive physical benefits.

Now, chocolate joins the limelight as something that we not only like but turns out to be good for us also. For a while dark chocolate, possibly because it has less sugar or because of the concentration of the chemicals it has, has been recognized as a healthy choice for people to consume.

Like coffee, dark chocolate also affects our moods positively and is good for our brain, heart, and circulation systems. They now are including all types of chocolate under the beneficial heading - so whatever one's personal preference here can guide consumption - or it can be a little of this and a little of that. 

Nevertheless, coffee (drunk as it comes from the pot with no milk, cream, sugar, other sweeteners, or flavorings added to it) has no calories. Drink as much as we like without worrying about the waistline or exercise that might be necessary to absorb its impact on our system. 

Chocolate, as good as it is, can't make the same claim, so we have to be a little more careful in consuming it that we aren't packing on the calories. This is likely another reason that the dark chocolate is recommended over other varieties. Generally, anything rated 70% or higher is considered to offer little sugar boost and still provide a sweet flavor. Some people enjoy the higher concentrations of chocolate and lower concentrations of sweetener more than others. For some, it is an acquired taste. 

What can we expect from eating chocolate? If we accept the recent reports (and why shouldn't we since they are positive?), chocolate may bolster our mood and help our mental capacity - all good here. Like coffee, it also can improve our circulation and help reduce anxiety.

There are many people who recommend a daily dose of chocolate although the suggested amount to consume has not been specified. Still, it's great to hear that two products that we enjoy so much actually can be beneficial for us.

So, let's celebrate the good news with another cup of coffee and a piece of chocolate to go along with it. After all, chocolate and coffee do taste good together. 

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist-Instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.