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.
- 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, anandamide makes us feel relaxed and improve our mood.
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 as blueberries, acai berries and many more super foods. But, dark chocolate and raw cocao have much higher antioxidant values!
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!
Wally Bishop C.N.C., I.N.H.C., C.I.C.P.
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.
Chocolate intake is associated with better cognitive function: The Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195666316300459
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