There are many delicious rumors that chocolate can relieve inflammation. Today, we’re going to dig deep into this dark world and discover the truth.
Food Choices Can Alter Symptoms
The Mayo Clinic suggests that arthritis symptoms and diet are related. That is, healthy choices result in decreasing painful symptoms, and vice-versa. Many of you know that there are many carbohydrates that absolutely cause your arthritis pain to worsen, like:
- Processed foods
- White flour baked goods
- And any other refined carbohydrates
Buckwheat, corn, millet, quinoa, and sorghum, plus many fruits – we’ll discuss the superior benefits of fruit next week – can lessen joint pain and swelling. But there are times when you crave something sweet. Everyone deserves a little treat now and then!
Not All Chocolate is Created Equal
But when you are reaching for a piece of chocolate…enjoy! Chocolate, specifically 70% pure cocoa, has been studied and the results are in. It can reduce inflammation related to arthritis!
Dark chocolate contains specific compounds called phytochemicals that have been shown to reduce inflammation and joint pain. The phytochemicals boost health in multiple ways and are found in abundance within cocoa powder.
Dr. Floranne Ernste, MD, says that dark chocolate, “contains natural inflammation fighters, such as antioxidants and phytochemicals.” By consuming phytochemicals on a regular basis may reduce arthritis symptoms. Choosing chocolate with at least 70% cocoa is best whereas milk and white chocolate have far less phytochemicals – more calories, less health benefits.
So, how exactly can chocolate improve your overall health besides reducing inflammation?
- Mood enhancing
MedicineNet describes the benefits from chocolates as: “The release of endorphins upon ingesting of chocolate likely explains the comforting feelings that many people associate with this food and the craving for chocolate in times of stress.”
While chocolate doesn’t consist of enough vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that our bodies need for function at a healthy level, having a little to cheer you up and lessen inflammation could be well worth the tasty bite.
A Little Goes a Long Way…
Now, before you go sitting down with a whole bowlful, remember that moderation of anything is the key. Even if something is healthy, too much of it can be the “worst thing you can put in your body.” When you consume too much of anything, the initial benefits turn around and your body will suffer from the overload, as I’m sure we all have done from time-to-time…weight gain, anyone?
Feel free to add a little chocolate to your healthy regime and see for yourself if helps relieve some arthritis pain or boosts your health in other ways.
Today’s recipe is packed with cocoa powder and other superfoods!
Cocoa-Banana Walnut Bread
· 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
· ¾ cup cocoa powder
· 1 tsp. baking soda
· 1 tsp. cinnamon
· ½ tsp. salt
· ½ tsp. allspice
· 2 large eggs
· ½ cup brown sugar
· ¾ cup plain, low-fat yogurt
· 1/3 cup canola or grapeseed oil
· 2 tbsp. molasses
· 2 ripe bananas, mashed
· 1 tsp. vanilla extract
· ½ cup chopped walnuts
1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Grease 9”x5” loaf pan
3. In large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, allspice
4. In a separate bowl, lightly beat eggs, add sugar, yogurt, oil, molasses, bananas, and vanilla and mix well
5. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix gently
6. Fold in walnuts and pour into prepared pan
7. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
8. Cool for several minutes before removing from the pan.
Cocoa-Banana Walnut Bread