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Coffee & Chocolate - The Health Facts You Need To Know

coffee and chocolate

 

On this week’s blog, we share a special guest article from researcher, teacher, and author, Mitravinda Savanur. Enjoy! ;-)
 

Individually, coffee and chocolate are delicious food items. When combined, they still make for a delicious combination. And surprisingly, the combination has more health benefits than the two food items have individually.

Interesting, right? 
 

So what are the health benefits of coffee & chocolate?
 

Coffee and Chocolate 

Coffee and chocolate is a sophisticated combination of flavors. According to research, it’s a healthy combination as well. 

Clarkson University conducted a small research study to understand the effects of caffeine, cocoa, and cocoa-caffeine on one’s mood and cognition. The most important cognitional activity that the study tested was one’s attention span.

The results of the study were extremely interesting. 

People who drank only cocoa could complete the work assigned faster and with lesser mistakes. The participants who were given caffeine to drink completed the work with the same efficiency but there was a spike in their anxiety levels.

Now, those people who drank the caffeine-cocoa mix completed the work efficiently and did so in a sense of calm. What this basically suggests is that the cocoa calmed the anxiety spiking properties of caffeine and mellowed down the whole ‘caffeine-high’. 
 

It was concluded that Cocoa-Caffeine combination boosts attention and eases anxiety. 
 

The main ingredient in coffee is caffeine. Caffeine is a psychoactive drug. In low doses, coffee is fine. However, as a drug, caffeine is addictive and a person can become dependent on it. Yet, despite popular belief, coffee has both; positive and negative health impacts. 
 

But let’s skip the generic vocabulary and instead dive into real facts:
 

  • Coffee tends to raise the anxiety levels in the body.
     
  • Over-dependence on coffee can disrupt one’s sleeping cycle that commonly leads to insomnia. It also leads to daytime fatigue which can result in lower productivity.
     
  • Coffee is highly acidic and should be avoided if you suffer from acid reflux. It irritates the body’s gastrointestinal tract.
     
  • Regular intake of coffee reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Coffee drinkers are also less liable to develop Parkinson’s disease.
     
  • Regular intake of coffee can reduce the risk of depression. According to research, people who drink coffee 4 times a day are 20% less likely to suffer from depression.
     
  • Coffee drinkers are less susceptible to suffer from heart-diseases. Research studies have found that coffee reduces the risk of stroke in old people.
     
  • DNA is found to be stronger in those people who drink coffee regularly. The reason for this being that the white blood cells of coffee drinkers show lesser instances of DNA breakage.
     
  • Strong black coffee has the power to kill cavities found in the teeth. The key here is black coffee. Adding milk and sugar negates the bacteria-killing powers of black coffee.
     
  • Coffee has the power to prevent retinal damage of the eye. Coffee contains chlorogenic acid which has strong oxidizing power and hence, prevents retinal damage through oxidative stress.
     

Everyone loves chocolate. The main ingredient in chocolate is cocoa. All of the nutritional value of chocolate is mostly dependent on this main ingredient. 
 

So without further ado, let’s take a look at some chocolate health facts:
 

  • Over-eating chocolate can lead to unhealthy weight gain which in-turn can have a negative impact on the heart. Chocolates contain large amounts of saturated fats which lead to an increase in the cholesterol levels of the body.
     
  • Chocolates are rich in sugar and refined carbohydrates. Excess in sugar can cause diabetes while the excess in refined carbohydrates can lead to an increase in blood sugar levels.
     
  • Dark chocolate is rich in flavanols which help improve the blood flow and decrease the blood pressure in the body. However, the effects in this regard are considered mild in nature.
     
  • Dark chocolate reduces the risk of heart diseases. It improves insulin sensitivity, increases HDL and reduces the susceptibility of “LDL to oxidative damage”.
     
  • The flavanols present in chocolate protect the skin from sun-damage by improving blood flow to the skin. It’s also known to increase skin density and hydration.
     
  • The theobromine and caffeine that’s present in chocolates help to stimulate brain activity. Additionally, chocolate’s ability to increase the blood flow to one’s brain also helps with the stimulation of brain activity.
     

Coffee and chocolate are both regular food items that are a part of most households. Therefore, it is important to be aware of their impact on health. With this article, we hope to have addressed this issue. You can now make educated decisions to control the intake of these two ingredients by your family.
 

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Mitravinda Savanur is a Nutritionist at DietChart with a doctoral degree in Food Science and Nutrition. She is a researcher, teacher, and an author. Through her blogs, she wishes to help people gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between food, nutrition, lifestyle, and health.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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