|My favourite chocolate|
As regular readers of this blog will know, I have tried to balance the considerable benefits of giving up cigarettes with research into possible benefits of remaining a smoker. This has not been easy, but by stretching the definition of the word ‘benefit’ and then adding a healthy dose of imagination I have found some possible benefits that can be read in my article Handy Tips on Fighting Zombies (which also has links to other possible benefits). Whether these benefits will outweigh the negatives of smoking (smelly clothes, bad skin, sickness and lack of money to name but a few) is really up to the reader to decide.
Whilst 85 per cent of smokers regret having begun smoking, most worry that by giving up they might gain weight due to snacking. This is a valid concern. Whilst withdrawal systems from smoking are temporary they are nonetheless real and uncomfortable whilst they last (as I can testify). Fortunately here are plenty of ways to deal with cravings including sensible snacking on tasty crunchables like carrots sticks, celery and fruit.
There may also be one sweet snack that smokers ( and non-smokers) can let themselves enjoy. There is a growing body of research highlighting the possible benefits of dark chocolate, which has been linked to lowering blood pressure and improving skin tone. An important caveat though comes from Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D., who advises in Can chocolate be good for my health that we should remember that most chocolates have added fat, sugar and calories which can impact negatively on health. However moderate consumption of Chocolate with a high cocoa content could be very beneficial to you.
One of the most recent tests on chocolate was carried out by Louisiana State University researchers who found that certain bacteria in the stomach ferment cocoa ‘and then release anti-inflammatory compounds that benefit the heart’ For more read Scientists Probe Dark Chocolate's Health
So for those who are trying to give up cigarettes for Lent, it might be a good idea to take up (a moderate amount) of Dark Chocolate instead.