Until now, your chocolate habit has been nothing but strengthened by the growing number of reports touting the treat’s many benefits. The heart-help that stems from it has been relatively undisputed, questioned only when examining quality and potency. As such, you took great pleasure in your daily habit, feeling deliciously smug and superior with each bite. But as I said, that was until now. That was before the latest research slowed your happy munching.
A study of 1,001 women aged 70 to 85 examined the effects of chocolate on bone density. Those who ate it daily had a density 3.1 percent lower than those who ate it weekly. Their bones, particularly those in the heel and tibia, were noticeably weaker. In short, they were at a higher risk for osteoporosis and thus, fracture. And what’s even more alarming is that overall, these women (the daily chocolate eaters) were just as healthy if not more so than the others. They consumed the same amount of fruits, vegetables, saturated fats, carbs, protein, starch, fiber and potassium, had lower BMIs, and consumed fewer calories. The only possible reason for their weaker bones was the chocolate.
You’re starting to get a little antsy, aren’t you? As an older woman, you are already at risk for osteoporosis. You don’t want to make it any worse, but then, you just restocked your desk, purse, car and kitchen. You filled each location with the necessary amount of sweets. You can’t simply throw it all away. What a waste of money, of time, of CHOCOLATE. What should you do?
Relax. Don’t panic, and don’t do anything rash (like trash your entire stash). This was only the first of many studies that will analyze the effects of chocolate on bone density. More needs to be done before the findings can be confidently confirmed or disproved. Meanwhile, work on strengthening your bones by following these three basic rules so that you can keep your chocolate and your strength:
1. Get enough calcium AND vitamin D – the calcium will strengthen your bones, and the vitamin D will make sure that it is absorbed properly. You can get either from a variety of foods or supplements.
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