Have you ever wondered whether your chocolate habit is helping or hindering your menopause symptoms? If so, you’re at the right place. The short answer is that yes, it can help…but not always.
Chocolate can sometimes feel like the answer to all of your problems. And the good news is that you can use it to help manage your menopause symptoms. But before you skip off to devour your favourite block, sit tight because we’ve got a few things to explain.
The truth is that chocolate has potential benefits and downsides. Whether it will improve your menopause symptoms or worsen them depends on several factors, from your choice of chocolate to timings, quantities, and your body’s unique response to chocolate.
Chocolate addicts need not despair! Read on to discover why chocolate is a decent candidate for reducing your menopause symptoms and when you may need to ease back.
What are the Potential Health Benefits of Chocolate for Menopause?
Although quality studies on using chocolate to manage menopause symptoms are virtually non-existent, many studies highlight the health benefits of chocolate.
Products with a high cocoa content are generally associated with benefits. As soon as you add a ton of milk and sugar to the mix, the beneficial effects of chocolate are diminished.
Yes, it’s sad that the sweet milky varieties are less likely to be associated with health-promoting benefits because they’re oh-so-tasty.
Not to mention addictive.
Sugar releases opioids and dopamine into our bodies, activating the brain’s reward centre and telling it you want more.
Anyway, we digress. Sugar is a whole other topic!
But you need to understand that it’s the cocoa part of the chocolate that generally wins the prizes for its health benefits.
The cocoa or cacao (the even more nutrient-rich, non-roasted version) found in chocolate is high in polyphenols called flavonoids. Flavonoids are present in several foods (not only chocolate) and are associated with health benefits ranging from supporting cardiovascular health to improving cognitive performance. These aspects can potentially benefit menopausal women due to the increased risk of cardiovascular disease during this stage of life.
But How Does That Help With Menopause Symptoms?
Ok, so what you really want to know is whether chocolate can help you feel better and relieve the nasty symptoms weighing you down during menopause.
Well, some flavonoids seem to produce a mild estrogenic effect, suggesting they may help ease menopausal symptoms like hot flashes.
Chocolate is also known for its mood-boosting effects. Although the mechanism isn’t fully understood, it could be due to its interaction with neurotransmitter systems like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. Therefore, you might find chocolate helps you manage menopause-related stress, anxiety, and mood swings.
Finally, cocoa contains a range of vitamins and minerals, which may help to give you a little energy boost. Most notably, it’s high in magnesium, which can help with muscle relaxation and better sleep quality (a common menopausal complaint).
What are the Potential Downsides of Eating Chocolate to Manage Your Menopause Symptoms?
Some menopausal women may find that chocolate is too stimulating. Chocolate contains caffeine, which can increase your body temperature, and, therefore, could trigger hot flushes. It can also disrupt sleep, which many women during menopause struggle with.
However, remember that the magnesium in chocolate could prove beneficial for sleep!
The bottom line?
Everyone is different.
Chocolate could help OR hinder your menopause symptoms. If you suspect chocolate could be worsening your symptoms, ease back on your quantities or adjust the timing of your intake to earlier in the day.
Learn to listen to your body and how it responds to chocolate (and we’re not just talking about the initial sense of satisfaction!), and tweak your intake accordingly.
Keen to learn more about managing your menopause symptoms? Discover how ayurvedic medicine treats menopause symptoms with these top natural Indian home remedies.
About The Author
Written by Elly McGuinness, a freelance writer with extensive experience in the health and fitness industry and a passion for holistic wellness.
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