Chocolate may be beneficial to cancer patients, according to some studies. Throughout the year — especially during Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Christmas — stores are filling their shelves with all kinds of decadent chocolate confections. Many of us agree that the taste is otherworldly and luscious. However, most of the chocolates available in grocery stores are bad for our health. But wait, isn’t this article about chocolate being good for cancer patients?
The Best Chocolate for Cancer Patients
You guessed it — dark chocolate is “the one,” offering many benefits to both healthy individuals and those who are battling cancer.
Before we discuss how and why dark chocolate is good for you, please keep in mind that we are only talking about dark chocolate here. Do not begin shoving Hershey’s milk chocolate kisses in your face and telling everyone, “New Hope Unlimited said I should eat more chocolate.” No, New Hope Unlimited is sharing the health benefits of dark chocolate, and we recommend consulting your doctor before reintroducing this indulgent treat to your body.
How Dark Chocolate Benefits Cancer Patients
Here are the proven health benefits of dark chocolate or cocoa:
- Phytochemicals offer protection against diseases
Phytochemicals are bioactive nutrient plant chemicals found in fruits, veggies, grains, and other edible plants that may provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition, including reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
Cocoa is a rich source of phytochemicals, which, according to a recent study, may help prevent tumor growth and decrease the production of cancer-related hormones.
- Neutralize free radical damage
Cancer and several other disorders stem from free radical damage. Free radicals are the natural byproducts of chemical processes, including metabolism. Dr. Lauri Wright, a registered dietitian and an assistant professor of nutrition at the University of South Florida, said, “I think of free radicals as waste products from various chemical reactions in the cell that, when built up, harm the cells of the body.”
In simpler terms, free radicals can damage our DNA, leading to mutations that increase the risk of developing cancer and other diseases.
A 2018 study concluded that flavonoids from cocoa in dark chocolate can significantly prevent DNA damage and the subsequent development of cancer. Furthermore, another promising study revealed that cocoa powder and cocoa extract may inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
- A natural mood enhancer for cancer patients
Receiving a cancer diagnosis can take a serious toll on a patient’s mental health, often causing depression, anxiety, and a rollercoaster of negative emotions. The last thing patients need to do is add antidepressants on top of their cancer treatments, especially because most prescription medications cause side effects like nausea, fatigue, dry mouth, and many others.
Psychiatric Times reported that eating chocolate lowers the risk of depression, and that cocoa actually boosts mood. The sinful indulgence can increase the level of feel-good chemicals in the brain, including serotonin and endorphins (our natural mood stabilizers). Therefore, for cancer patients, eating dark chocolate may provide some much-needed relief.
- Lowers blood pressure
Flavanol is the main flavonoid in cocoa. A press release published in ScienceDaily revealed that a diet high in flavanol can help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow, as well as reduce high levels of “bad” cholesterol.
- Dark chocolate contains polyphenols
Polyphenols are abundant in whole foods such as fruits (easily accessible berries), vegetables (artichoke, spinach, and shallots), dried spices, red wine, and our main topic of discussion. They play a crucial role in preventing the progression of various ailments, including cancer, diabetes, and neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases.
Polyphenols are a form of prebiotic, increasing the ratio of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which is essential for good health, disease prevention, and weight management.
Moderation Is Key
Just because cancer patients can have dark chocolate does not mean controlling one’s portions is no longer necessary. The key to reaping the full benefits of cocoa is to enjoy it in moderation. Although dark chocolate offers profound health advantages, eating pounds of it on a daily basis is not healthy. Even the healthiest dark chocolate bars contain sugar and fat, and consuming too much can cause weight gain and negative health outcomes.
How Much Dark Chocolate Is Too Much?
According to Medical News Today, people can regularly enjoy dark chocolate due to the health benefits mentioned above. However, keep in mind that the daily recommended amount of dark chocolate is 1 to 2 ounces or 30 to 60 grams per day.
Make this decadent confection a special part of your day, perhaps after meditating or achieving your everyday goals. But again, avoid eating too much of it, and consult your healthcare provider before adding dark chocolate to your diet.
Which Dark Chocolate Bar Is Best?
The healthiest dark chocolate bar has fewer ingredients and the highest percentage of cocoa possible. Always remember to check the label before purchasing. Some may contain 70 percent cocoa, but once you review the ingredients on the back, you may see a bunch of ingredients that you don’t want in your body.
In addition, even though a higher percentage of cocoa is ideal, it might be too bitter to eat. Look for a dark chocolate bar that offers between 75 to 85 percent cocoa.
The Bottom Line
Holiday or not, treat yourself to something that will both satisfy your tastebuds and boost your overall health. Dark chocolate is bitter yet sweet, luscious yet light, and sinful yet beneficial. Just mind your portions, and avoid milk and white chocolates, as they offer little to no health benefits and will only feed your cancer.
Get the Comprehensive Cancer Treatment You Need
The cancer researchers and medical practitioners here at New Hope Unlimited have dedicated years to developing conventional cancer treatments that may reverse cancer symptoms and restore the body’s functions pre-diagnosis. Our alternative therapies also improve psychological and spiritual wellness to rehabilitate the mind and body’s cancer-free condition. Contact us now at 480-757-6573 to schedule a consultation with our specialist. It is not too late to beat cancer.