Welcome to the chocolate zone … where chocolate is always a good idea, and melted chocolate on your hands means you’re eating it too slowly.
This is for all of us who have a sweet tooth and for those who think sugar was judged too harshly :).
Chocolate knows no boundaries, speaks all languages, comes in all sizes, is woven through many cultures and disciplines … it impacts mood, health, and economics, and it is a part of our lives from early childhood through the elderly years. ~ Herman A. Berliner, forward, Chocolate: Food of the Gods
What Chocolate Can Do For You
“Chemically speaking, chocolate really is the world’s perfect food.” ~ Michael Levine, nutrition researcher
- Dark chocolate has over 300 chemical compounds, making it truly a superfood.
- Dark chocolate has more antioxidants than a glass of red wine or green tea.
- Dark chocolate improves blood flow, lowers blood pressure, raises HDL, protects LDL, and may help in the prevention of blood clots.
- Dark chocolate is loaded with flavonoids and antioxidants, and the more bitter the chocolate, the higher the number of both.
- Dark chocolate contains Vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, selenium, and healthy fat.
- Dark chocolate is rich in theobromine, tannins, and polyphenols, all of which help limit oral bacteria, repair and re-mineralize teeth, and lower the risk of getting cavities.
- Dark chocolate is heart healthy — it increases circulation, lowers blood pressure, and reduces the risk of hardening of the arteries.
- Dark chocolate is brain food — it enhances cognitive function, improves memory and focus, and provides protection against aging of the brain.
- Dark chocolate reduces insulin resistance, helping to keep blood sugar levels healthy,.
- Dark chocolate benefits the microbes in our GI tract. And in turn, our gut bacteria help harness the anti-inflammatory benefits of chocolate.
- The theobromine in dark chocolate is shown to be more effective in treating a cough than codeine.
- Dark Chocolate — the good mood food — contains several chemical compounds, including phenylethylamine which helps our brain release endorphins … and those make us happy!
- Dark chocolate provides sun protection. The flavonoids in dark chocolate absorb UV light, protecting the skin from burning.
- “Choco-lyte” – dark chocolate profiles the perfect electrolyte replacement. The darker the chocolate, the higher the electrolyte concentration.
Opt for the chocolate bars that have at least 70 percent cacao content.
“When you’re shopping for dark chocolate, read the label and ingredients carefully. If the first ingredient is milk or sugar, the bar is not going to have 70 percent of more cocoa content” says Thierry Muret, Godiva Executive Chef Chocolatier.
Here’s some of the most decadent dark chocolate I have found:
Enjoy Life Products has great baking chocolate.
In addition to finding the perfect chocolate bar, you can also make hot chocolate, or add a couple of tablespoons of raw cacao to your oatmeal, smoothies, or yogurt… you can even add it to a bowl of chili!
Chocolate: Mind, Body, and Soul Food
We love chocolate so much that there are too many national chocolate holidays to list here. So should you need a reason to indulge, here is the Calendar of National Chocolate Holidays.
Chocolate “… it is perhaps the quintessential example of a food to love that will love you back.” ~ David Katz MD, Director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center.
Happy Chocolate Days!
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This article was contributed by Jane Hill – fierce Bikram Yogi, lover of all things natural, and my best yoga buddy. Look for more articles by Jane in the Off the Mat Chats section of Views From the Podium!