CHOCOLATE MILK: THE SUPERDRINK FOR CHILDREN (PART 1)
When it comes to treat, parents are usually reluctant to allow their kids to indulge in chocolate. But in the recent years, we’ve been shown that our wellbeing do benefit from moderate consumption of chocolate. Although cocoa has been used by the people in the central America for more than two millennia, only recently the scientific communities begin scrutinizing its healthful properties.
Chocolate milk is a multipurpose drink that contains the goodness of milk and chocolate in one serving. Bio-compounds such as alkaloid, dietary nutrients like carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, some with anti-oxidants properties, are among the essential compounds hidden in the deliciously treat. These essential compounds are critical to the healthy development of children; mentally and physically. Plus, it is easier for a kid’s stomach to digest especially on an empty stomach or after physical activities. Below are among the natural susbstances lay hidden inside a glass of chocolate milk and why they are pivotal to growing kids.
The alkaloid compound found in Theobroma cacao (the cocoa tree) is also the one responsible to give chocolate its natural bitter taste. While it does have stimulating properties, theobromine is not caffeine. This compound helps to relax the working muscles which may prevent serious injury during physical games like soccer, netball, volleyball and badminton. Parents usually worry chocolate will cause tooth decay however theobromine is found to be beneficial for a strong set of teeth as it is able to harden the enamel.
The neurotransmitter is a well-known mood-elevating bio substance that aids in promoting restful sleep, calms the emotion and perk up the spirit – for a content yet cheerful kids. In the learning curve, the serotonin can elevate brain power for a more superior memory, clear articulate thoughts and enhanced focus, allowing the children to absorb more information and able to utilize them while doing independent study and homework. Serotonin also can control hunger/satiety perception in the brain, which helps to control the body from overeating. Together with proper and healthy daily diet and enough exercises, a child can maintain an ideal weight.
This is a another natural compound that assists in improving children’s mental prowess. It works by lowering restlessness, heighten alertness and increase focus – enabling them to tune out any distraction especially during study period. Moderate chocolate consumption might be the answer to aid children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as PEA stimulates dopamine activities in the brain.
Carbohydrates and Protein
A physically active body needs a ratio of carbohydrates-to-protein around 3-to-1 or 4-to-1. Ideally a glass of chocolate milk contains around 3-to-1 to 5-to-1 ratio, making it a handy before and after sport drink. Before physical activities, the carbohydrate supplies fuel for the body to remain active. The protein meanwhile, aids to prevent damages to the working muscles. After workout the carbohyrates replenishes the energy supply in the form of glycogen. Protein and all its amino acid help repair small injuries the muscles might endured, rebuilt the muscles and assist the body in restoring the glycogen supply. Coupled with theobromine which helps dilates and relaxes blood vessels, the muscles recovery process can be hasten as oxygen-rich blood can reach the muscles quicker.
The good fats
Fat. A short, simple word that can cause a great alarm among us. Yes, chocolate does contain fats – saturated fats and monounsaturated fats, and they are vital in biochemical reaction in the human body. The majority of the saturated fats is stearic acid, whereas the majority of monounsaturated fats is oleic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid. Stearic acid, although grouped together with the ‘bad’ saturated fats, is unique; it does the opposite, lowering the low-density-lipoprotein, i.e. the bad cholesterol. As a matter of fact, a human body will convert the stearic acid into oleic acid. Oleic acid, meanwhile, is capable of powering up the memory and optimizing the brain functions, besides the obvious of lowering the LDL and increase the HDL level.
So mothers and fathers, do not hesitate giving your precious children, especially those who are in schools, a glass or two of chocolate milk every day. This is the best drink to potentiate their learning process and physical stamina. If the good bio-compounds and their positives effects on children noted above still haven’t sway your current belief in chocolate, next week we are sharing about the nutrients that made up chocolate and their importance to children.
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