|
|
The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch - Sleepy Eye, MN
  • Dr. Murray Feingold: Will eating chocolate make you smarter?

    • email print
      Comment
  • First, full disclosure. I do have a “sweet tooth” and I am a recovering “chocoholic.” Therefore, my interest is piqued when I find medical reports that expound the health benefits of chocolate.
    A recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine prompted me to review some of the medical stories I wrote concerning chocolate. On the positive side, one study reported that people who ate chocolate were at a decreased risk of developing high blood pressure.
    Another showed that people who have had a heart attack and ate a few chunks of chocolate twice a week, were less likely to die from a subsequent heart attack.
    What is important in chocolate is the presence of flavonoids.
    Flavonoids have been reported to help protect the heart because of its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting effects. Coco beans are used to make chocolate, and the amount of flavonoids in chocolate depends upon the type of coco bean used and how it is processed.
    Dark chocolate contains more flavonoids. White chocolate, which is not considered to be real chocolate, does not contain flavonoids.
    Not all studies are complimentary to chocolate. Chocolate contains high amounts of calories and fat. Then, add some of the usual chocolate “accessories” such as nuts, caramel or creams and you are talking about calories and fats galore — not good for your health.
    Another negative study showed that people who consumed chocolate had a greater chance of having depression than those who did not eat chocolate.
    The recent article in the New England Journal tries to make an argument for another benefit of chocolate.
    The author reviewed the data concerning the level of chocolate consumption in various countries and then determined the number of Nobel laureates each country produced. His results showed that there was a correlation between the amount of chocolate consumed by a country and the number of Nobel prize winners. For example, Switzerland had the most Nobel laureates and also consumed, per capita, the most chocolate. Does this mean that eating chocolate increases your intelligence?
    It’s time for some good old common sense. Chocolate, like most everything else, if eaten in moderation is probably not unhealthy. However, to say it will make you smarter is somewhat of a stretch.
    Dr. Murray Feingold is the physician in chief of The Feingold Center for Children and president of the Genesis Fund, a nonprofit organization that funds the care of children born with birth defects, mental retardation and genetic diseases.

        calendar