Willbe. Menopause Testing

The Bittersweet secret to women’s lifelong health

The debates about the benefits of chocolate continue. Some argue that chocolate is more harmful due to its sugar and stearic acid content, while others believe that its benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. To settle these disputes, a study involving over 80,000 postmenopausal women was conducted. Today’s article delves into their findings, exploring whether chocolate should be a must-have in the post-menopause menu.

The Bittersweet secret to women's lifelong health

What’s an autumn day without a square of dark chocolate? The good news is that this delight can come with a side of health benefits. Chocolate is a treasure trove of around 300 biologically active elements and essential micronutrients, including potassium, magnesium, copper, B vitamins, caffeine, bioflavonoids, and theobromine. Interestingly, cocoa has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries, with the Aztecs and ancient Mayans harnessing its power to boost endurance. However, when it comes to addressing menopausal symptoms, it’s only relatively recently that science has started to shine a light on chocolate’s potential. And the initial findings are promising.

So, it might be time to consider incorporating a bit of chocolate into your diet to:

Enhance your mood

One of the most challenging aspects of menopause is the emotional rollercoaster many women experience due to hormonal fluctuations. Chocolate contains compounds that can influence mood and emotional well-being. Chocolate can trigger the release of endorphins, those delightful “feel-good” hormones that can turn your day around. Here’s the science behind the magic: Cocoa beans boost the activity of tyrosine hydroxylase, an enzyme crucial for the production of dopamine – the brain’s main molecule of joy and pleasure. This can help mitigate mood swings and feelings of anxiety or depression that are common during menopause.

Boost your energy

It’s no wonder the Aztecs turned to chocolate to boost their endurance. Chocolate plays a remarkable role in revving up your energy from its very source, by targeting the “powerhouses of the cell” – mitochondria. This is all thanks to the abundance of polyphenols found in chocolate, which help create new “energy stations” and shield your cells from oxidative stress.

Now, let’s talk about the saturated fats in cocoa beans, especially stearic acid. Critics of chocolate often frown upon this component because we’ve all heard that our bodies require unsaturated fatty acids. However, just like in any aspect of life, it’s all about balance, and saturated fats have their role to play. Stearic acid, in particular, is crucial for regulating processes within the mitochondria. In fact, a small amount of it is essential for their work. So, it turns out that even in the world of fats, balance is key to the normal functioning of your body.

Weight management and appetite regulation

During menopause, many women worry about gaining weight, often because their metabolism is changing. It’s important to remember that chocolate is high in calories, so you should enjoy it in moderation. But here’s the good part: having a small piece of dark chocolate about 30 minutes before a meal can actually help you feel less hungry after lunch or dinner. The special compounds in cocoa, called flavonols, can also have a positive impact on metabolic syndrome and related conditions. So, when it comes to managing your weight and controlling your appetite, a bit of dark chocolate can be quite helpful.

So, if you’re looking for a natural and non-invasive way to improve your health and quality of life, biofeedback may be just what you need.

Bone health improvement

Another concern during menopause is the loss of bone density, which can lead to conditions like osteoporosis. Some studies have suggested that dark chocolate, with its high magnesium content, may support bone health. Magnesium is an essential mineral for maintaining strong bones, and including it in your diet can help combat age-related bone loss.

Better heart work

During menopause, a woman’s risk of heart disease increases due to hormonal changes that affect cholesterol levels and blood pressure. There’s a wealth of data backing up the idea that including cocoa and chocolate in your diet can help reduce the risk of heart disease. The secret lies in the flavonoids found in chocolate. They have this incredible ability to relax blood vessels, lower blood pressure, and even tone down inflammation.

While there are numerous potential health advantages to consider, there are still some key questions to address. Specifically, we need to determine how well-documented these effects are for women experiencing menopause, figure out which type of chocolate is the most beneficial, and establish the optimal quantity for health benefits.

What do big studies say about chocolate and menopause?

The findings from a two-decade study involving over 80,000 women going through menopause shed light on the power of moderate chocolate consumption in the post-menopausal years. It turns out that women who included dark chocolate in their diet experienced some remarkable health improvements. These women exhibited a significantly lower risk of heart disease or dementia, which are one of the major health problems after menopause. Furthermore, eating chocolate lowered the risk of dying from any cause.

How sweet can bitter chocolates be?

When it comes to the incredible benefits of chocolate, we’re primarily talking about dark chocolate with minimal added sugar. But does that mean we should go completely sugar-free or even start nibbling on cacao beans? Well, not quite.

In reality, a small amount of sugar in dark chocolate can actually enhance its effectiveness. Sugar and other carbohydrate-rich foods can boost the absorption of polyphenols, those helpful compounds found in chocolate.

However, it’s a different story when there’s an excessive amount of sugar in your chocolate. Too much sugar can negate the heart-protective potential of chocolate. The bioactive elements in chocolate stimulate the production of a special substance called nitric oxide, which lowers blood pressure and widens blood vessels. But sugar triggers the release of insulin, which essentially “eats up” all that beneficial nitric oxide.

So, it’s not a problem if your bittersweet dark chocolate has a little sugar in it. But an excess of sugar, of course, diminishes its benefits.

How much chocolate is the best for health after menopause?

When it comes to chocolate, more isn’t better. Years of extensive meta-analyses have shown that, for reducing the risk of post-menopausal diseases and, in general, lowering the risk of heart-related conditions, the sweet spot is around 1 to 3 servings per week. A typical serving of chocolate is about 1 ounce (28 grams). So 3 servings is approximately 1 bar of chocolate for a week.

So, since confirms that treating yourself to a bit of dark chocolate from time to time can be a delightful and potentially health-boosting addition to your menopausal experience, offering a sweet interlude during this bittersweet phase of life.