It may sound like an contradictory statement, but decadent health treats due exist and when used sparingly, can contribute to one’s health and well being. Some treats such as dark chocolate, alcohol and coffee possess chemical compounds that can actually benefit our health when used in moderation. The key emphasis, however, is placed on the concept of moderation.
Some scientific evidence has indicated that dark chocolate may provide health benefits to the cardiovascular system. An article by the Cleveland Clinic indicated that the chemical compounds known as flavanols found in the cocoa bean provides antioxidant properties to dark chocolate that can have a positive influence on blood pressure and vascular function. Some evidence also supports a reduced risk of diabetes, stroke and heart attack with the limited consumption of dark chocolate.
To date no hard facts exists on the amount of dark chocolate to consume, but experts recommend limiting consumption to less than three ounces per day and look for a cocoa content of at least 70 percent or higher. One ounce of dark chocolate is equivalent to approximately five to six Hersey Kisses size candies.
Alcohol may also provide a cardiovascular health benefit when consumed with caution and limited to moderate amounts. Some research has indicated that alcohol may have a positive influence on raising the high density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol in the human body. Another possible benefit of alcohol intake is the anti-clotting properties it may affect in the blood. This could possibly contribute to preventing blockages that could lead to heart attacks and strokes.
The recommendations from the American Heart Association for moderate alcohol consumption on a daily basis is limited to two servings for males and one serving for females. The following is considered one serving of alcohol:
4 ounces of wine
12 ounces of beer
1.0 to 1.5 ounces of hard liquor
That cup of java in the morning can also provide more than just the pick-me-up effects of the caffeine. An article on WebMD reports that regular coffee drinking may help to prevent type II diabetes due to the antioxidant properties along with the minerals of magnesium and chromium found in coffee. These minerals help the body regulate insulin which controls the intake of glucose into cells. The article further indicates that coffee drinkers may have a lower incident of Parkinson disease and dementia. Populations that consumed 3 to 5 cups of coffee per day were found to have a 65% lower incident of these diseases when compared to those that did not regularly consume coffee. Just take note when adding the extra sugar and creams due to the added calories and fat content.
The key with consuming these types of treats is moderation. Just because a limited amount of chocolate, alcohol and coffee may provide health benefits; the more is better mentality can sabotage and negate the positive outcomes. And as in all cases, individuals with medical conditions and on certain medications should always consult with their physician to determine the influence and impact of these substances on their medical situation. So when used wisely and in moderation; treats such as dark chocolate, an occasional glass of wine and coffee, may prove to be the decadent treat that supports our health.