Are you a lover of all things chocolate?
Something emotional happens when you take a piece of chocolate and let it melt in your mouth.
Creamy and delicious.
Now, you may be wondering why I’m talking about eating chocolate when everyone knows that chocolate isn’t good for you.
Are you sure?
What is it about chocolate that is unhealthy?
Ahh, yes, the chemically processed candy bar. You’re absolutely correct. Put the chocolate candy bar down and let’s talk about real delicious healthy chocolate for a moment.
The Delight of Chocolate
Is it chocolate or is it candy?
Is it real or is it fake?
Real chocolate lovers want to know.
Chocolate comes in many forms. You have Cacao, Cocoa, Cocoa Butter, Chocolate, and White Chocolate.
There was a time when I only knew three versions of “Chocolate”; which were Cocoa, Chocolate, and White Chocolate. Cocoa was used in my baking and making homemade hot chocolate, chocolate was used for frosting and candy, and white chocolate was used to make homemade candy and anything else I could come up with – I have enjoyed my share of white chocolate through the years.
As my wellness side kicked in and told me that I could no longer eat chocolate, my emotional side kicked in and revolted.
You’ll be glad to hear that my emotional side won.
Here’s why, yes, there are many types of chocolate and each one has a healthy side that allows you to have, in moderation of course, your daily dose of chocolate.
Let’s look at the types of chocolate first…
Cacao is a bean that you grind to make your cocoa powder. This is not something I have ventured into, as I am a lazy cook and just buy the powder.
Cocoa Powder is the Cacao bean that has the fat removed and ground into powder. You may see this referred to as “cacao powder” or “cocoa powder”. This powder is unsweetened and bitter. There are different grades of cocoa powder that are available for purchase. The higher the percentage, the more flavonoids the powder contains. Look for a percentage greater than 60%. I buy 75% and above for my personal baking.
Cocoa Butter is the fat from the Cacao seed. It is yellowish in color and is a required ingredient in many chocolate products. It is known to help manage the risk of high cholesterol.
Chocolate is the non-fat cocoa solids. Sugar and other ingredients are added to make your chocolate bars and candy.
White Chocolate is made from cocoa butter, which makes it rich in fat. I’m not talking about the imitation white chocolate that is on the baking shelves. When you need white chocolate, look for the real thing.
This is a quick summary of the types of chocolate, now let’s look at why we can have our chocolate and eat it too. Before we begin, always choose “dark chocolate” with a high percentage of Cacao/Cocoa. Your chocolate should be at a minimum of 75%. Anything less will not offer the full spectrum of health benefits for your body.
The 7 Benefits of Eating Dark Chocolate:
Good for the heart. Dark chocolate may help lower high blood pressure and increase blood flow in your arteries and heart. Also reduces the risk of blood clots.
Improves your skin. Dark chocolate contains lots of flavanols, which protect the skin against UV damage.
Anti-diabetic. Many studies have shown that dark chocolate improves insulin sensitivity, helping to improve blood sugar levels.
Mood enhancer. Dark chocolate boosts your serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain, improving your mood.
Rich in minerals. Dark chocolate contains calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Good source of antioxidants. Dark chocolate also contains a vast amount of antioxidants, which are great for promoting heart health, decreasing the risk of infection, and fighting free radicals in the body.
I’m a believer, are you?
Now, you may be wondering how you can optimally add chocolate to your life to enjoy those healthy benefits.