Comfort Cravings

How to soothe yourself without food—and how to eat healthfully and mindfully

Love Chocolate? 10 Good Reasons to Indulge Mindfully!

Expert Advice: 10 Surprising Benefits of Chocolate!

Meet the incredible Cynthia Sass, nutritionist and New York Times best selling author of S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim. In her book, Cynthia outlines an entire chapter on the health benefits of dark chocolate. I've invited her to share her thoughts and philosophy with you.  She gives two thumbs up to dark chocolate, which is right on board with the Mindful Eating Chocolate Challenge. She's given us a top 10 countdown of the reasons why eating dark chocolate may help boost your health and wellbeing. Here are her thoughts:  


10. The type of saturated fat in dark chocolate isn’t the same as the artery-clogging saturated fat in a hamburger or whole milk. It’s a unique variety called stearic acid, much of which gets converted in the body to oleic acid, a heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acid or “MUFA” like those found in olive oil. 

9. One study found that heart attack survivors who ate chocolate just twice a week over a two-year period cut their risk of dying from heart disease threefold.

8. Chocolate’s protective natural substances help prevent cholesterol from sticking to your artery walls, reducing your risk of heart attack and stroke. 

7. The antioxidants in cocoa trigger the walls of your blood vessels to relax, lowering blood pressure and improving circulation. That means better delivery of oxygen and nutrients to every cell.

6. Dark chocolate has a caffeine kick, but not too much. One ounce of 70% dark contains about 40 mg of caffeine, compared to 200 mg in 8 ounces of brewed coffee and 120 mg in strong black tea. 

5. Dark chocolate has been shown to help correct imbalances in the body related to stress, and can significantly reduce levels of stress hormones, which is key because a surge in stress hormones is linked to more belly fat.

4. Chocolate contains the same type of antioxidants found in red wine and tea, which have been shown to boost brain activity.

3. Dark chocolate contains magnesium, a mineral that can help alleviate PMS symptoms, including cramps, water retention, fatigue, depression, and irritability.

2. Compared to milk chocolate eaters, those who downed dark chocolate ate 15% fewer calories without even trying and reported fewer cravings for sweet, salty, and fatty foods.

1. Dark chocolate contains unique natural substances, including some that truly create a sense of euphoria, similar to the feeling of being in love!

Dr. Susan Albers is a psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic and the author of six books on mindful eating including the new book, EatQ, which describes the journey from emotional eater to a person who makes food decisions in the way you intend. www.eatq.com

Join the February Mindful Chocolate Challenge by "Liking" us on www.facebook.com/eatdrinkmindful today

Susan Albers, Psy.D., is a psychologist who specializes in eating issues, weight loss, body image concerns and mindfulness. 

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