Most of us love chocolate and are not giving it up. Now that the health benefits of eating quality dark chocolate are coming to light, my love affair with it is reaching new levels. I no longer tell myself that it is wrong or bad or unhealthy or anything that will stress me out over the healthiest taste of delight I know.
Health Benefits of Quality Dark Chocolate Overview
- Nutritious: rich in Fiber, Iron, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese and a few other minerals
- Best source of antioxidant on the planet (higher than blueberries)
- Assists with depression (by regulating serotonin)
- Lowers blood pressure
- Lowers blood sugar
- Raises HDL and protects LDL against oxidation
- The bioactive compounds in dark chocolate may also be great for your skin
- Brain function: One study of healthy volunteers showed that 5 days of consuming high-flavanol cocoa improved blood flow to the brain (~ NCBI)
- The fatty acid profile of cocoa and dark chocolate is excellent. The fats are mostly saturated and monounsaturated, with small amounts of polyunsaturates.
Don’t beat yourself up for being addicted to sugar. Remember, sugar is more addictive than cocaine. Intense sweetness surpasses cocaine reward is proven with this rat study. Being aware that it is the sugar that is causing the problem, not the chocolate, helps us to be more aware of our chocolate choices.
Chocolate with 70% or more cocoa content is a good choice. It is the sugar in chocolate that is not good for you, not the cocoa.
Chocolate with a twist
There are now quality chocolates with various super-foods that not only add nutrients to every bite but a delightful taste and texture. Can you even imagine this one: cocoa, cayenne pepper, and pumpkin seeds from Lake Champlain Chocolates.
What does my chocolate stash currently look like?
I have been able to move away from the chocolate that contains refined sugar and all milk chocolate. I now have a taste for the quality high nutrient stuff. I allow myself one bar (approximately 3 ounces) every week. Usually, I eat a chunk of it daily until it is gone for the week. If I choose to be wild, I have no problem with eating the whole bar (3 oz.) in one day. Then for the rest of the week, I refrain. That is just how I have chosen to do it for now.
The higher quality the chocolate, the less I worry about it. When I worry about it, that causes a stress response and I lose all of the joy and health benefits. So when I eat it, I choose wisely and savor every bite.
Raw organic chocolate is my top choice but it is can be difficult to find and expensive. It is well worth the cost so I have a couple of sources that I like:
David Wolfe with Longevity Warehouse Any product of David Wolfe’s is worth every penny. I purchase most of my “super foods” through him (Longevity Warehouse).
Sacred Chocolate Another chocolate product made with David Wolfe.
LuLu’s – some health food stores carry this brand.
Thrive Market (search bar = “chocolate bars”) is a discount health food online store that I use all the time. They are very particular what they sell, more so than a normal health food store. It is easy to look at their list of chocolate and narrow it down from there.
Endangered Species is the brand I usually get when I walk into a health food store.
Amazon also carries Endangered Species brand:
- Dark Chocolate Bar – 88% cocoa – 1 bar
- Dark Chocolate Bar With Espresso Beans – 3 Pack
- Dark chocolate Deep Mint Rain Forest – 6 Pack
- An assortment of Endangered Species cacao bars – 12 pack
Drink your chocolate
I also keep powdered organic cocoa on hand at all times. I sprinkle it on anything I want to. I put a scoop in my coffee or tea to make a “hot chocolate” drink with protein powder and grass-fed butter. Since this does not have any sugar in it, I do not count that towards my weekly chocolate stash. Too many nutrients in it to cause any stress.
My favorite: Cacao powder – I buy it in 2-pound bulk for the best price for a quality brand
Cocoa vs Cacao
Raw cacao powder is made from cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans. The process keeps the living enzymes in the cocoa and removes the fat (cacao butter). Cocoa looks the same but it’s not. Cocoa powder is raw cacao that’s been roasted at high temperatures. High temperatures destroy living enzymes and nutrients, therefore, my preference is always raw cacao powder.
Are you able to enjoy your chocolate instead of stressing?
Maribeth Baxter, MBEC (Certified Mind-Body Eating Coach)
Donations accepted to serve others on their chronic illness journey. Maribeth Baxter, MBEC provides voluntary certified health coaching services to the financially limited during their time of crisis.