We’ve said before that the most popular home remedy for premenstrual misery is a hot water bottle. We’d like to amend that statement, because so many women we know go straight for one thing to soothe that PMS feeling—chocolate! Whether you are a milk chocolate or a dark chocolate kind of gal, and whether you like it plain or with almonds or rice crisps—maybe you prefer to drink your cocoa—most women seem to intuitively know that chocolate can hit the spot in those few days before your period.
Of course, we usually think that chocolate hits not only the spot, but also the hips, so it has a reputation as junk food. But there has been more and more research showing that chocolate is good for you: now a new study getting plenty of attention shows that people who eat chocolate weigh less than people who don’t! We did a doubletake when we saw that: we thought most people eating chocolate in the form of low quality candy that’s full of unhealthy sugars and fats. But, it turns out, people who eat more chocolate have a lower Body Mass Index (BMI.)
As is often the case with research, it’s hard to know exactly what this means. Maybe people who are naturally thin eat more chocolate, for some reason. Or maybe, when they’re talking to researchers about what they eat, heavier people don’t admit to eating chocolate while thinner people do.
Right now, all we can say is there appears to be an association, or correlation, between eating chocolate and lower BMI. But that is not all that chocolate seems to be able to do: evidence is mounting that chocolate prevents heart disease and stroke, and may even help keep blood pressure in line. No researchers are saying that eating chocolate helps PMS or PMDD, though plenty of women would be happy to be subjects in that study!
Chocolate is rich in plant antioxidants and powerful chemicals called plant polyphenols that prevent damage to the heart, the blood vessels, and to all the cells of the body. Plant-based antioxidants like those in chocolate, green tea, broccoli, and blueberries are receiving more and more attention (while less is going to vitamin C and vitamin E pills.) We have suggestions on how to incorporate more of these nutritional powerhouses in your diet—but a moderate amount of chocolate and tea doesn’t hurt, and it might just help your figure, too.