Chocolate taste so good and is so good for us!!

The beginning of Chocolate!

Cocao, cocoa or chocolate, regardless what name you choose, it comes in many forms.  And, truthfully, I am an expert in all things chocolate because I confess I am a chocoholic. I eat dark chocolate and raw cocoa powder everyday. The taste is awesome and the benefits are huge!  However, I am very selective about the type of chocolate I eat or drink.

Not all chocolates are healthy. Milk chocolates and chocolates with a lot of added sugar do not provide the health benefits. Obviously chocolate, cakes, cracker and cookies fall into the not healthy category.

The cocao bean is the jewel of the bean world. No other food has higher antioxidant power! It is also rich in many other nutrients.

Raw cocoa added to your smoothie and other foods can supercharge your body in many ways. Be creative with it.

Warning- not all chocolates are healthy! Milk chocolate or other candies in which chocolate is added does not have the health benefits of dark or raw chocolate. They most likely have milk and lots of sugar in them. Even healthy dark and raw chocolate is high in calories so limit your amount to prevent weight gain. It only takes 1 to 2 ounces of dark chocolate or raw cocao powder once a day to get the health benefits of chocolate.

To make sure I eat the healthiest chocolate I use only 85% dark or higher and when I make hot chocolate I use the healthiest, which is raw (uncooked or unprocessed) cocoa powder.  Chocolate is one of the highest antioxidant rated foods. Chocolate is rich in powerful antioxidants like resveratrol and epicatechin, is rich in minerals like magnesium, calcium, iron, copper, zinc, potassium, phosphorus and Vitamins like Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Folate, B2, B5, B6, and Vitamin K. Chocolate also contains brain and heart healthy fats and other healthy phytonutrients.

Health Benefits

  • Helps reduce blood pressure
  • Provides great energy
  • Boost metabolism
  • Improves bone health
  • Protects cells from free radical attacks
  • Reduces premature aging
  • Helps reduce stress
  • Improves vascular wall health
  • May reduce blood clots
  • Can improve both LDL and HDL cholesterol levels.
  • Improve insulin function
  • Reduces platelet stickiness
  • Improves immune response
  • Improves our mood
  • Improves our sleep
  • Can improve heart health

How Chocolate Improves Our Mood!

Studies show that eating a small amount of dark chocolate a few times a week can help lower your blood pressure and improve blood flow and may even help prevent the formation of blood clots. It helps increase our uptake of serotonin, which improves our mood. Chocolate also has Phenylethylamine (or PEA), which is a natural chemical produced by our brains to produce endorphins (mood elevating hormones that are attributed to the feeling of love). And you guessed it right! Dark chocolate is full of it! This creates a euphoric feeling in our brains and can help with depression, irritability, grief, and much more!

Another substance found in chocolate is anandamide. A fatty substance that is naturally produced in the brain, anandamides makes us feel relaxed and improve our mood.

Immune Function

It’s also good when your sick, if you can’t get the rest you need or your dying of the flu just try a bit of dark chocolate. The Xantheose, an ingredient in dark chocolate, has been proven to suppress a cough and help with symptoms and inflammation. This effect is attributed to the antioxidants in chocolate and puts it in the same arena this food to blueberries, acai berries and many more super foods.

Enjoy dark and raw chocolate; it doesn’t take much, just an ounce or two every day to get the desired health benefits and pleasurable relaxation it provides.

While writing this for you I am enjoying a delicious cup of velvety rich dark cocoa. I add a little Ceylon cinnamon, almond milk and stevia, the aroma and taste is bliss!

Enjoy your chocolate!

Healthy Wishes

Wally Bishop C.N.C., I.N.H.C.

wellnesswithwally.com

The contents of this blog are not and should not be considered medical advice. This blog is for informational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. Never quit taking prescription medications unless advised to do so by your doctor.

Reference sources

 

Chocolate intake is associated with better cognitive function: The Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195666316300459

Contemporary Reviews in Cardiovascular Medicine-Cocoa and Cardiovascular Health –Circulation. 2009; 119: 1433-1441 doi: 10.1161/​CIRCULATIONAHA.108.827022

[Langer, S. and Marshall, L.J., et.al., (2011) “Flavanols and Methylxanthines in Commercially Available Dark Chocolate: A Study of the Correlation with Nonfat Cocoa  Solids”. J. Agric. Food Chem., 59, 8435]

[Erdman, J.W. and Carson, L., et.al., (2008) “Effects of Cocoa Flavanols on Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease”.  Asia Pac. J. Clin. Nutr., 17, Suppl. 1: 284].

[Allen, R.R. and Carson, L., et al. (2008) “Daily Consumption of a Dark Chocolate  Containing Flavanols and Added Sterol Esters Affects Cardiovascular Risk Factors in a Normotensive Population with Elevated Cholesterol”.  J. Nutr., 138, 725].

[Katz, D.L., Doughty, K, and Ali, A. (2011) “Cocoa and Chocolate in Human Health and Disease”.  Antioxid. Redox Signal., 15, 2779],

Engler MB, Engler MM, Chen CY, et al. Flavonoid-rich dark chocolate improves endothelial function and increases plasma epicatechin concentrations in healthy adults. J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Jun; 23(3): 197-204.

Taubert D, Roesen R, Lehmann C, et al. Effects of low habitual cocoa intake on blood pressure and bioactive nitric oxide: a randomized controlled trial.  JAMA. 2007 Jul 4; 298(1): 49-60.

[Murata, M. and Katagiri, N., et al., (2009) “Effect of Beta-Phenylethylamine on extracellular concentrations of Dopamine in the Nucleus Accumbens and Prefrontal Cortex”. Brain Res., 1269, 40],

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