The Benefits of Chocolate for PCOS

You are probably thinking this can't be true, there can't be any benefits to eating chocolate for my PCOS. Chocolate is the devil's food, it is full of sugar, high in fat and calories. So what sort of benefits could it possibly offer me?!?

 

Firstly, let's take a few steps back. We all have cravings for something sweet and when you have PCOS, you are no different. When you are diagnosed with PCOS, you are most likely told to stay away from anything containing sugar, which means no sweet foods. However, there is a way around this ban and dark chocolate is the answer to all of your questions. Dark chocolate not only offers a whole host of health benefits, it is also delicious and can satisfy your sweet tooth.

 

What is it that makes chocolate healthy?

Chocolate is made from Cocoa Beans. Cocoa is a rich source of dietary polyphenols and it is the polyphenols that are good for human health and disease.

 

What are Polyphenols?

 

Polyphenols are phytochemicals, which means these nutrients are found prolifically in natural plant sources and are known for their antioxidant properties.

 




So, What are the Benefits of Chocolate?

 

  • Increases insulin sensitivity

A group of patients took flavanol-rich dark chocolate (100 g/day for 15 days) and results showed a decrease insulin resistance and an increase insulin sensitivity. Flavanols from chocolate appear to increase nitric oxide bioavailability and research suggests that it is nitric oxide that regulates insulin.

 

  • Reduces Stress

A study found that individuals who rated themselves as highly stressed had lower levels of stress after eating chocolate for a period of two weeks. Research suggests that eating 40 g of Dark and Milk chocolate daily can be an effective way to reduce perceived stress.

 

  • Reduce symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome

Research results show participants that took polyphenol-rich chocolate showed a significant improvement. Data was gathered by using different scoring methods, such as the Chalder Fatigue Scale and Hospital Anxiety and Depression scores.

 

  • Reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study suggesting that adding half an ounce of dark chocolate to an average American diet is enough to increase total antioxidant capacity 4 percent, and lessen oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Research indicates phenolics from cocoa decreases the tendency of blood to clot. The University of California, Davis, found that chocolate thins the blood and performs the same anti-clotting activity as aspirin and this is why a large consumption of cocoa is linked to improved cardiovascular health. A study carried out by Harvard University identified that women who consumed more than nine grams of chocolate (the chocolate used was usually dark chocolate) on a daily basis had almost cut down the risk of hemorrhagic stroke by half.

 

  • Increases serotonin helping with Weight Loss

Cocoa stimulates the production of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin regulates your mood and helps suppress your appetite, which in turn will help you eat fewer calories overall.

A study tested the weight loss results of three groups, chocolate group (low carb with lots of chocolate), low-carb group and control group. The results showed both the chocolate group and the low-carb group lost weight, whereas the control group gained weight during the study period. Participants in the the low-carb group lost 3.1 percent of their body weight in 21 days and the chocolate group lost 3.2 percent.

 

Summary...

 

*Eat dark chocolate a few times a week.

*Look for a cocoa content of 70 percent

*Be aware of the portion size

*Avoid chocolate that says "processed with alkali” on the nutrition label, this process causes the chocolate to have less flavanols.

 

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3488419/

http://jn.nutrition.org/content/138/9/1671.long

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2790109/

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/81/1/215S.full

http://scialert.net/fulltext/?doi=ajb.2010.154.162&org=10

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