Healthy Chocolate

By | 1st November 2011

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away – but where did that come from and is it right?

A short Google search later and I find it comes from Pembrokeshire – Eat an apple on going to bed, And you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.

Apples are healthy – part of your 5 a day fruit and vegetables but ironically are distinctly unhealthy if we follow the original Welsh advice. I’m presuming an apple on going to bed is after you’ve cleaned your teeth – it which case the sugar and acid in the apple will have ample time to start wearing away your enamel and hence cause dental caries.

Oral hygiene

The reality is that when it comes to good oral hygiene two things work well – fluoridation and regular teeth cleaning. If this mantra is followed then you’ll experience all the benefits of a healthy diet and none of the risks.

A better, modern day, version of the Pembrokeshire ode would be A jog a day keeps the doctor away. Exercise halves your risk of mental health problems, stroke, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and so on. But a recent article in the BMJ makes me wonder whether it should be A bar of chocolate a day keep the doctor away!


Apparently a chocolate rich diet reduces the risk of a heart attack by 37% and stroke by 29% – a truly stunning benefit. However they did say that the quality of trials were not particularly good and that ideally a proper trial should be started!! I’m sure they wouldn’t have many problems enrolling a few volunteers!!

Remember if you’re contemplating a chocolate filled future you should mainly eat chocolates high in cocoa (the healthy bit) ideally 70+% cocoa – milk chocolate tends to be low in cocoa and high in hydrogenated fats which are not good for your health.

The other error in the Pembrokeshire ode is that if you don’t come to see me then I won’t get paid!! The greatest strength of the National Health Service is that it is focused on health. At times, during busy epidemics it does seem to be all about disease – but the bottom line is that we are actually paid to keep you healthy.

It is theoretically possible for me to spend every day on the golf course and still earn a good wage. The secret is to ensure that all my patients are so healthy they have no need to see me.

Hence my encouragement for you to eat chocolate and do lots of exercise.

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