I usually do not like to watch reruns on television. Rerun time registers to me as “turn off the TV, turn on some classical music, and pickup a book.” But last night, there was a rerun of CBS’ NCIS TV show that I so loved the first time, I had to watch it again. In this installment of the civilian Navy personnel crime busters, the gutsy Ziva (played by Cote de Pablo) gave quirky lab technician, Abby (played by Pauley Perrette) a “thank you” chocolate cupcake. This cupcake was so laden with sweet cacao concoctions that two of the ladies’ male co-workers, DiNozzo (played by Michael Weatherly) and McGee (played by Sean Murray) hung their noses over the cupcake box like vultures. And how fancy is that, to have a cupcake in its own little box, just like a cake from the bakery. Well, okay, it was a cake from the bakery; it was just a tiny cake.
As a fellow chocolate lover, I appreciated Abby’s desire to place the cupcake in the refrigerator in her lab with a plan to dine on it later. There’s something special about enjoying decadent chocolate while relaxing to more fully enjoy the sweet delicacy. As fate would have it, someone stole Abby’s cupcake. I shared Abby’s angst over the disappearing cupcake and applauded her determination to find the chocolate-breath culprit.
Chocolate – is there anyone who doesn’t like it? The diet-conscience among us says we should suppress our chocolate cravings to avoid the fat content and calories. Me, I look at the good things about chocolate to talk myself into overriding the nasty calorie thing. First of all, it’s dark chocolate that has medical benefit. White chocolate and milk chocolate do not carry healthful benefits.
WebMD will tell you that when you eat dark chocolate, don’t include a glass of milk because, “Our findings indicate that milk may interfere with the absorption of antioxidants from chocolate … and may therefore negate the potential health benefits that can be derived from eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate.”
From a health standpoint, dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which WebMD tells us can lower the chance of blood clots. A German study of individuals with slightly elevated blood pressure showed that given a moderate amount of dark chocolate daily of the course of 18 weeks actually lowered their blood pressure. But wait, there’s more. A daily small serving of dark chocolate was shown to lower levels of C-reactive protein. People with low levels of C-reactive protein have lower levels of inflammation. Lower inflammation can reduce pain but more importantly, can help to ward of heart disease.
If you want to jump onboard the daily dose of dark chocolate, because of the calorie impact, think small serving and reduce some other food consumption (or exercise more) to balance out the additional calories. Both Mars (CocoaVia) and Hershey (Cacao Reserve as well as Extra Dark Chocolate) are trying to help us by introducing candy bars with higher levels of cacao.
Hoorah for chocolate!