July 7 is Chocolate Day. For anyone with a sweet tooth, this seems like the perfect opportunity to indulge in all types of treats. For you as a family caregiver, however, you know that eating a healthy, balanced diet and avoiding too many calories, too much fat and sugar, and nutritionally-sparse foods is important to your aging parent maintaining their health and well-being. Is there a way that this day can be about both? Fortunately, it turns out that there is. Studies have shown that a bit of chocolate really can be a healthy addition to the diet if managed properly and you choose the right type of chocolate.
Generally speaking, the health benefits of a regular small dose of chocolate comes from good quality dark varieties, but the potential health boosts are truly surprising:
• Lower stroke risk. In 2011, a study showed that women who consumed more chocolate, approximately 45 grams a week, consistently had a 20 percent lower risk of suffering a stroke than those women who ate 8 grams or fewer per week.
• Better heart health. Getting a box of chocolates from a loved one is not just good for making your heart feel good. It can also make it healthier. Regular consumption of a small amount of dark chocolate has been shown to lower blood pressure, manage healthy cholesterol, and reduce overall cardiovascular risk.
• Satisfaction. Getting hunger pangs between or after meals can lead to mindless snacking, which can sabotage calorie counts and give your parent far more sugar and fat than they need. Studies suggest, however, that if they enjoy a treat of dark chocolate, they are less likely to over-snack. Dark chocolate has fiber, which helps provide a feeling of satiety. Eating chocolate can also control cravings for fatty, sweet, and salty foods, cutting down on how much your parent eats.
• Boosted mental health. Eating a bit of chocolate can reduce your parent’s stress and boost mood.
If you have been looking for ways to boost your aging parent’s quality of life and help them to experience a lifestyle that is more independent, engaged, and fulfilling, now may be the ideal time for you to consider starting elderly care for them. An elderly home care services provider can work with you to determine a customized schedule that ensures your senior loved one gets all of the care and assistance that they need in a way that manages their individual needs and challenges while also encouraging more independence and activity as they age in place. This not only helps to keep your parent safer, more comfortable, healthier, and happier, but it can make a tremendous difference to you as their family caregiver. Knowing that your loved one has this type of highly personalized care available to them can ease your mind, help you to manage your stress, and ensure that you have the time, energy, and effort to focus on yourself, your children, your partner, and other important elements of your life while knowing that your senior is in good hands.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering elderly care in Roxborough, PA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands of Central Philadelphia. 215-274-0900.