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Health Corner: All Halloween candy is not created equally

By Danielle CaseyStaff Writer Halloween does not have to sabotage your diet this year. Unlike people, all candy is not created equally, and some candy is better than others. While sour candy has been compared to battery acid regarding its damaging effects on teeth, and has absolutely no nutritional value, chocolate actually has some healthy benefits. Chocolate is not perfect, but it is probably the best option when picking through a heaping pile of tempting candy this October 31. Studies show that eating chocolate regularly can lower blood pressure, prevent blood clots, keep LDL cholesterol in control and reduce your risk of having a stroke. Chocolate contains antioxidants, which help reverse cell damage. Cell damage can be caused by exposure to pollutants. By reversing this damage, antioxidants can help fight cancer and heart disease. According to the British Medical Journal, eating 100 grams of dark chocolate daily can reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke by 21 percent. Contrary to what you may believe, having a little caffeine once in a while can actually be healthy. While coffee and soda contain an excessive amount of caffeine, chocolate contains just the right amount to wake you up. Chocolate makes you feel awesome. Chocolate increases the levels of phenylethylamine, theobromine, and serotonin in the brain. These chemicals basically make you feel like the king of the world. Okay, so maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration; but chocolate really does boost your mood. So now you are probably wondering why we don’t have chocolate everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The downfall of chocolate is its calorie count. According to registered dietician Juliette Kellow, 100 grams of Swiss dark chocolate contains about 515 calories and 100 grams of Swiss milk chocolate contains about 556 calories. In addition to the superfluous amount of calories, chocolate also contains a large amount of sugar. The high amounts of sugar in chocolate will actually make you want to eat more and more of it. Due to the high sugar content, consuming too much chocolate can also leave you craving carbohydrates. The combination of chocolate’s addictive property and high calorie count can be disastrous for your health goals. The polyphenols in cocoa are what give chocolate its healthy properties. Dark chocolate contains a lot more polyphenols than milk chocolate, and therefore is much healthier. The consumption of milk limits the absorption of these polyphenols in your body. Even though it is tempting to wash chocolate down with a glass of milk, it is not the best idea. This Halloween, do not be afraid to welcome dark chocolate into your life. Of course, you shouldn’t finish it all before November 1. Pace yourself, and no matter what candy you choose to consume, make sure you brush your teeth and floss unless you plan on dressing up as a hobo next year.

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