Chocolate contains lots of mood-enhancing components—sugar, caffeine, and several trace minerals. Research show that chocolate is the number one food craved by women.
So when you’re stressed or feeling down, should you give in to your cravings or resist? The sensible answer is that eating small amounts of chocolate on occasion is okay. But the devil, even for dark chocolate, is in the calories. A one ounce bar of chocolate contains 125 to 140 calories.
So how can you get the benefits of chocolate, without consuming too many calories?
First we must define the benefits. Sugar and caffeine can give you a temporary energy boost, so a small piece of chocolate might be just the pick-me-up that you need. Another benefit of chocolate is the antioxidant properties, measured as ORAC values, which come from the flavanols in cocoa powder.
Natural cocoa powder is a great source of these antioxidants, and is low in calories. The benefits of cocoa flavanols can include improved blood flow and arterial elasticity, decreased blood pressure and platelet aggregation, and anti-inflammatory actions.1
I would suggest that instead of chocolate, women seek comfort in exercise, spirituality, laughter, friendship, or other non-caloric delights.
An occasional indulgence in comfort food—whether that be warm chocolate, mac & cheese, or a glass of wine—is okay. But turning to your favorite foods every time you feel down can lead to excess weight, which in the long run is not going to help your mood.
Below is a chart which shows some of the nutritional attributes of various types of chocolate and cocoa.
|Approximate Values –Will vary by brand||Calories||Sugar Grams||Fat Grams||Caffeine (mg)||ORAC(antioxidant capacity)|
|1 Ounce Milk Chocolate||138||16||8||9||2,100|
|1 Ounce Bittersweet Chocolate 60%||140||14||8||34||5,100|
|1 Ounce Dark Chocolate (80%)||124||8||12||45||5,800|
|1 Ounce Natural Cocoa Powder (~5.6 T)||57||0||3||45||22,700|
|1 Tablespoon Natural Cocoa Powder||10||0||<1||8||4,100|
|8 oz Coffee (Drip)||145|
1Further reading: http://journal.chemistrycentral.com/content/5/1/5