Cover Image: Amy Shamblen on Unsplash Today we welcome guest blogger Eliza Brooks to the Stuckey’s Pecan Blog Roll. Eliza is an avid blogger and informative content writer who loves to write about travel, health, food, culture, and more. She is currently working with Jakers, the leading candlelight restaurant in Idaho. Today, Eliza gives us five more reasons to enjoy candy. For as long as we can remember, we’ve been told again and again that eating chocolate is not healthy and that it should only ever be reserved for special occasions and nothing else. Entire holidays are celebrated around annual events involving the consumption of chocolate such as Halloween and Valentines Day. That idea has recently been challenged following the release of a number of studies pointing to the fact that chocolate, and particularly dark chocolate, has a few healthy benefits, as you will see further. Such studies have certainly divided many experts, but there are a few facets to these theories that both sides concede to being acceptable. Here are a few examples of them: Heart Health It might come as a surprise to some, but there is growing evidence within the health and nutrition world that chocolate, at least in certain portions, can promote cardiovascular health. The study focuses on dark chocolate, and for those that consume it on a regular basis, it’s been shown to decrease the chance of a heart attack by 39%. Similarly, those that eat one bar of dark chocolate a week have a 46% less chance of stroke. Image: congerdesign from Pixabay All this research goes against the commonly held belief that any food item as sweet as that of a bar of chocolate has absolutely no healthy benefits for the body. As young kids, we were told that too much stuff can ruin our teeth, contribute to obesity, and put one at risk down a path towards an unhealthy lifestyle. Longer Life If you think of older people, we imagine a benevolent figure, caring in nature, and imbued with life’s wisdom. This is exemplified in how society views grandparents. They are wise and gentle figures in people’s lives, kind to a fault… and they always have the best candy. Image: Thgusstavo via Pexels In fact, some of that candy might be key to their long life. Recent studies show that moderate consumption of sweet foods like candies has the potential to extend one’s life. Enough sugar within the body provides the needed boost of energy to do daily tasks and even aid in improving focus. Helps Decrease Stress At some point in all our lives, we’ve been in a stressful situation that makes us crave something sweet. The idea is ubiquitous in modern pop culture. Rom Coms of the last couple of decades continue to use the trope of mulling in bed eating candies and ice cream as a way to soothe one’s heartache after a break up. Image: TanteTati from Pixabay Cliche as it may seem, this trope has clinical backings. A recent study has shown that eating chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can lower the level of stress hormones in our blood stream of people in a particularly stressful situation. Researchers concluded that eating the equivalent amount of your average-sized dark chocolate bar every day for two weeks can reduce the levels of cortisol (stress hormone) and catecholamines (adrenalin) in people with high stress. Improves Focus We’ve discussed how older people who regularly get help with chocolate daily have better focus. That idea is not limited to age as well. There’s a reason why human cultures from around the world have some variations of an in-between meal. Brunch, mid-afternoon tea, midnight snack, and all their other nomenclature and variations are believed to be humans’ evolutionary way of maintaining a constant source of energy throughout the day. Image by Tamas Pap on Unsplash Modern times dictate that we do away with these post/pre-meals food practices and stick to the more conventional three-meals-a-day practice. Chocolate is a wonderful source of energy to get people through the rest of their day. And it’s a convenient alternative to actually sitting down and preparing and eating snacks. Lowers Blood Pressure A lot of people all over the world suffer from high blood pressure. There are a ton of factors that relate to this but the most commonly accepted idea is that lifestyle plays a huge part in someone developing hypertension. The kind of food one eats, the level of physical activity one gets in a week, how much stress they are in, and other factors all contribute to the problem. Image: silviarita via pixabay The medical community has varying recommendations in avoiding developing this cardiovascular problem. Some recommended daily physical exercise, others focus on following a healthy diet, and others try to reduce the level of stress they feel. In those of these, chocolate can play a huge part. The body naturally needs and wants sugar as it is one of the simplest ways of getting energy. And the pleasure and experience one gets upon consumption of a special chocolate bar is enough to melt away some of the stresses we feel. Most of the cited papers and articles are pioneering in their own rights. In order to get the general public’s approval and accept candy to be an important component in one’s healthy diet, it will take the good portion of experts in the various fields to reach a consensus. — Thanks so much for being our guest blogger for today, Eliza and especially for giving us even more reasons to eat candy (for our health, of course!) Next time you’re on a road trip, we invite you to be our guest, too, by making a Stuckey’s stop along the way. Come on in and browse through our wide selection of fine pecan candies including our world famous Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls, pecan divinity and pecan pralines that are just as good as you remember. While you’re there check out all of the other road trip snacks and classic candy you’ll need for the road ahead. And of course, it wouldn’t be a Stuckey’s stop without getting a few of our kitschy souvenirs for you and the folks back home. And speaking of back home, don’t forget that you can you can order Stuckey’s online and have it sent right to your front door just in time for your next road trip. If you can’t figure out what to get, surprise yourself and your loved ones with a Stuckey’s Mystery Box. What’s in it? Well, if we told you it would ruin the surprise, wouldn’t it? Other than a 2 oz. Stuckey’s Pecan Log Roll, rest assured they’re full of fun as each box could contain John Wayne Water Bottles, High School Musical Keychains, Summer Sarongs, Frozen Memorabilia, Sock Monkey Toys, Redneck Flyswatters, Shake Pens, Inspirational Mini-Books, and much, much more. What will be in your Stuckey’s Mystery Box? You won’t know ‘til you order! Visit stuckeys.com for more info. Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!