Eating candy isn’t a good choice for your aging relative’s health. Or is it? It actually depends on what kind of candy they are eating. Research suggests that eating dark chocolate in moderation has several health benefits. Past studies have shown dark chocolate has physical health benefits, but a recent study suggests it may also have mental health benefits.
Dark Chocolate and Depression
Researchers at the University College London recently looked into how dark chocolate affects depression. The researchers used data collected using the United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. There were 13,626 participants who were all adults aged 20 and older. They determined whether participants were experiencing depressive symptoms using the Patient Health Questionnaire, which is commonly used for assessing mental health problems.
To find out if the participants ate chocolate, the scientists used 24-hour dietary recall. The first time, they interviewed people face-to-face. The second recall occurred via a phone interview that took place three to ten days later. 1,332 people reported eating chocolate. 148 of them said they had eaten dark chocolate.
The researchers found that eating regular chocolate didn’t have a significant effect on depression. However, those who ate dark chocolate reported symptoms of depression 70 percent less than those who didn’t eat chocolate at all.
Other Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate
In addition to possibly being able to boost the mood of your aging relative, dark chocolate may also help them with other kinds of health problems. Some of the benefits of eating dark chocolate are:
Lower Blood Pressure: Eating dark chocolate has been linked to a reduction in blood pressure. It is believed to improve blood flow.
Nutrients: Dark chocolate is packed with nutrients, at least if you purchase high quality dark chocolate that has a high cocoa content (70-85 percent cocoa). It contains fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, and other nutrients the body needs.
Antioxidants: Dark chocolate is a good source of antioxidants that destroy the free radicals associated with heart disease, cancer, and other health problems.
Increases Good Cholesterol: Studies show that eating dark chocolate can increase HDL cholesterol levels.
Of course, the health benefits of dark chocolate don’t mean that your aging relative should binge on it. Instead, eating a little dark chocolate once per day is good for their health and safe to enjoy for most seniors.
Homecare providers can make sure your aging relative is able to keep some dark chocolate on hand by driving them to the grocery store and assisting them with shopping. If the older adult tends to overeat, a homecare provider can put the chocolate in a safe place and dole out a piece at a time. In addition, homecare providers can balance the extra calories consumed in the chocolate by preparing healthy meals that are lower in calories.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Homecare Services in Michigan, please talk to the caring staff at Hope Senior Home Care today 313.881.3132.