What Makes Chocolate Healthy Anyway?
What makes chocolate healthy? According to recent studies, chocolate has key ingredients that not only taste good, but have benefits for your health. To reap the most rewards, you’ll need to eat the darkest variety you can find, which is no problem for most connoisseurs! True chocoholics love them all!
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The Aztecs referred to chocolate as 'nourishment of the Gods'. Chocolate contains chemicals that have a positive effect on neurotransmitters in the brain and a caffeine-related substance called theobromine.
Why Chocolate is Good for You!
Chocolate is said to be a 'guilty pleasure, but you don't have to feel remorse when you consume raw cocao powder in moderation. Chocolate is made from cacao beans, a rich source of phenols and flavonoids, (beneficial plant compounds), that are also found in colorful fruits and vegetables, and red wine, and green tea. Chocolate also contains essential trace elements, minerals and vitamins such as iron, calcium, potassium, vitamins A, B1, C, D, and E, as well as many other nutrients. Cocoa powder is also the highest known natural source of magnesium. In moderation, chocolate contains more antioxidant power than does red wine.
Cocoa is the key ingredient in chocolate that makes chocolate healthy for you! Cocoa can lower blood pressure, help with muscle recovery after exercise, improve skin quality, and provide antioxidants that are essential to good health. Of course, consuming more chocolate than you need isn’t healthy for you! You’ll need to savor small amounts of chocolate to get the most benefits! Eating a small, 1.6-ounce bar of dark chocolate is all you need!
The compounds found in chocolate, help maintain health only when you consume smaller portions. If you’re able to restrict your indulgence to a modest daily serving, there are heart healthy benefits too!
Cocoa improves blood flow, makes blood platelets much less sticky which helps prevent blood clotting, and lowers LDL levels. (the bad cholesterol) Cocoa helps reduce inflammation by providing essential antioxidants to your body. It also helps protect the heart and arteries from oxidative damage, similar to rust that develops on metal over time.
To make chocolate healthy though, you need to eat dark chocolate. Why dark chocolate? The dark color indicates that it's got more flavonoids in it.
Milk chocolate is just not as 'chocolate healthy' for you. Milk can interfere with your body’s ability to absorb the antioxidants that cocoa provides. It kinda negates the potential health benefits. Unfortunately, you won’t get the antioxidant benefits by eating milk chocolate, or dark chocolate consumed with a glass of milk. Just a nibble or two of dark chocolate once a day gives you the most health benefits and keeps chocolate healthy for you.
Many people love white chocolate too, but does it have the powerful health punch that dark chocolate does? White chocolate, though quite delicious, doesn't have the health benefits that make dark chocolate healthy. Unfortunately, it doesn’t contain any cocoa solids, the ingredient that makes dark chocolate so good for you!
More Chocolate Healthy Benefits
Not only is chocolate healthy for you, it’s also healthy for your skin! For many years, chocolate got a bad rap and was blamed for acne breakouts. However, that all changed when German researchers tested it's abilities to improve the skin on a large group of women. And you know what? It did just that!
to view the results of the study.
For many people, chocolate can also help with mild forms of depression. Chocolate helps increase the secretion of serotonin, (a powerful neurotransmitter), in your brain that makes you feel happy or elated! Depression has also been linked to high and low levels of calcium and magnesium. Low levels are often associated with anxieties as well.
Many prescription drugs, (like sedatives or tranquilizers), are overly prescribed for symptoms of depression. Unfortunately, these drugs deplete key nutrients such as calcium and magnesium. Milk chocolate is also packed with unhealthy sugars
and fats that can actually increase depression over time. So make dark chocolate your preference. Choose a quality, dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa content.
Chocolate is also healthy for menstruation! Ladies, do you find that you crave chocolate around the time of your period? It’s no wonder that you do! Menstruation depletes your cells of magnesium. Since chocolate is packed with magnesium, go ahead and splurge. Your body is craving it for good reason!
In another study, British researchers found that people get more of ‘a buzz’ from eating chocolate than from a passionate kiss. In the study, researchers placed electrodes on a group of young couples in their 20’s. They were tested for heart rate and brain activity when eating dark chocolate and when kissing their partners. Researchers were amazed at the results. Both heart rate and brain activity increased far more while they were eating chocolate. Furthermore, all areas of the brain were stimulated when the chocolate melted on their tongues. Kissing did increase heart rate, but not for nearly as long.
Since the average bar of dark chocolate has around 400 calories, moderation is key when adding chocolate to your diet. To keep chocolate healthy for you, moderation is key!
If your chocolate bar has more than just chocolate, like nuts or caramel, it also contains more calories. The best way to consume chocolate is to have one small piece of really good dark chocolate once a day! Chocolates made in Europe are generally richer in cocoa phenols than those made in the U.S. So buy imported dark chocolate when possible!
Organic cocao powder is far superior to cooked cocoa powder you can buy at a general store. Cocao powder boosts brain power, increases physical stamina, supports heart health
, can ease symptoms of PMS, strengthens glucose metabolism, improves a bad mood, and improves colon health. What more can you ask for?
Healthy Cocao Smoothie
This smoothie is a yummy morning health drink that's packed in nutrients your body can use all day long! You can add to it or leave it as is!
1 large scoop of cacao powder
1 large ripe avocado
1 large scoop of raw sugar, organic brown sugar, or just use a ripe banana banana
Raw milk, kefir, or almond milk to fill the blender.
Additionally, you can add spinach or kale leaves (or other greens) to super punch the smoothie and you can add things like chia seeds or flax seeds to add fiber.
*If you don't like avocado's, no problem. You can't taste it at all!
Drinking a chocolate healthy smoothie every day is a delicious and nutritious way to start your day! You can't go wrong when you indulge in foods that provides plant nutrients your body needs to function properly!
Always consult your physician before using natural remedies, especially for anyone with preexisting conditions or anyone currently taking prescription medications. Although many efforts are made to ensure that the advice given on this site is professionally sound, the advice is not intended to replace a mutual relationship with a medical provider.
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