Candy or caution

By Briana Hayes
Staff Writer

Halloween has two main components: costumes and candy.

It is a well-known fact that candy is not healthy for you. However, it is that time of year where people tend to indulge in the chocolatey, sweet goodness of candy. Instead of feeling guilt-ridden each time you open a bag of M&M’s, consider limiting rather than avoiding candy this Halloween.

Candy is not all bad. Yes, it contains sugar and yes, it has a low nutritional value. But there are benefits of candy, besides tasting good, that seem to go unnoticed.

While many people reach for their second coffee during the mid-afternoon to avoid the slump, another good option is chocolate. A miniature version of any chocolate bar provides a good balance between sugar and chocolate to get you through the day. However, just be aware of serving size.

Candy can also come into a large range of varieties, such as sugar-free and dark chocolate flavored. Dark chocolate candy, such as Milky Way Midnight, contains antioxidants and has the ability to reduce heart disease and stroke by 39 percent. The greater the percentage of cocoa in the dark chocolate, the more antioxidants it contains.

Chocolate also contains serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that has the ability to act as an antidepressant. A chemical known as phenylethylamine (PEA) that enhances an individual’s mood is also present in chocolate.

Another special power of chocolate is longevity, meaning that by consuming chocolate, an individual may be able to live longer. Chocolate is made from cacao and can reduce oxidation of unhealthy cholesterol which can lead to heart disease, and improve immune function, which prevent you from getting sick.

If chocolate really isn’t your thing, eating chewy candy, which usually comes in fruity and sour varieties, has the ability to improve your gums. This is more due to the fact that after an individual consumes chewy candy they feel the need to floss. Flossing improves the state of your gums.

Another non-chocolate candy, licorice, contains glabridin, which can reverse the effects of memory problems associated by type 2 diabetes.

Peppermint can help with digestion in that it can decrease bloating and an upset stomach.

The main problem with candy is that is has high sugar content. The added sugar in candy does not have any essential nutrients and has many negative effects.

During Halloween, moderation is key. Celebrate the holiday, just keep the candy consumption to a minimum during the other 364 days of the year.