Nurse Assistants, Pass On the Good News About Chocolate

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Part of the job for those who have completed nurse assistant training courses and gone on to land a job serving actual patients involves passing along medically relevant news.  With Valentine’s Day just yesterday and Easter on the horizon, we thought there could be no better time for the following information about the health benefits of consuming chocolate.

So nurse assistant training students, listen up and get ready to spread the good news. Emily Main or Rodale’s Organic Life recently published these 7 legitimate health benefits of eating chocolate.  Let’s take a moment before sharing the seven benefits to clarify that we’re talking about real, nice chocolate of at least 70% cacao.  Not the cheapo candy bars sold at the checkout line in the supermarket.  (Snickers won’t have the same medical value!).  The following is quoted excerpts from Main’s great article which you can read in full, here.

“Healthier Skin
Eating antioxidant-rich chocolate leads to skin that’s smoother, less dried out, and more resistant to sunburn, studies have shown.
Healthier Teeth
It’s the sugar in chocolate candies that rots your teeth—cocoa actually protects them. Cocoa bean husks contain antibacterial compounds that inhibit the formation of plaque and biofilms.
Reduced Cravings + Weight Gain
Cocoa is rich in fiber and protein; a standard-size dark chocolate bar contains 4 grams and 8 to 9 grams, respectively, of each, and a tablespoon of cocoa powder contains 4 grams and 1 gram of each.  Smelling dark chocolate, they found, stimulates production of an antihunger hormone called ghrelin, and the effect lingers for about an hour.
A Healthier Heart
Chocolate is often vilified because it contains cocoa butter, which is high in saturated fat. But it turns out that like other forms of saturated fat, such as coconut oil, cocoa butter could actually be good for you.
Sharper Focus
Magnetic resonance imaging studies have shown that chocolate boosts blood circulation to the brain, which can improve your ability to focus. Taking a small amount of cocoa flavanols for five days led to better blood flow to the brain in healthy adults who were performing cognitive tasks.
Less Anxiety
Stress prompts your body to produce cortisol, which has an added downside of triggering the accumulation of the abdominal, or visceral, fat that builds up around your organs and can contribute to depression, along with heart disease and stroke. Yet a 2009 study found that people who ate 40 grams (about an ounce) of chocolate every day for two weeks saw decreases in levels of cortisol.
A More Effective Workout
Boosting your pre-exercise energy levels, powering through a hard sweat session, and cutting down on post-workout soreness—chocolate helps all three. Cocoa’s catechins and epicatechins, two kinds of antioxidants, increase your muscle’s absorption of nutrients that create energy, which can help you get energized to work out.”

So share the good news with any patients you may come in contact with after you complete nurse assistant training courses and head out to work in the field.  You’re sure to get a sweet response!

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