CHOCOLATE – IS IT REALLY A HEALTH FOOD?
It seems the answer is yes. However, the most important thing to realize is that the health benefits provided by chocolate are a result of the flavonoid content found in the cocoa bean. Flavonoids are natural compounds with antioxidant properties – the same compounds that give berries, red wine and green tea their health benefits. Properly processed chocolate can be a health food as long as it was made using the least destructive processing techniques and preserving the highest levels of the beneficial polyphenolic bioflavanoids that are naturally present in cocoa.
Of Course There Are Rules
- Eat only dark chocolate. Dark chocolate has antioxidant properties that can actually help to protect the body from damaging oxidative stress. It also is far better than milk chocolate as adding milk cancels out the chocolate's antioxidant effects. Researchers have suggested that proteins in the milk bind with the antioxidants making them less easily absorbed by the body
- Only eat chocolate if you're healthy. Chocolate, even if it is dark, still contains large quantities of sugar, and eating sugar is a profoundly negative influence on your immune system. So the key point here is that if you are sick you do not want to eat sugar and instead keep your diet as clean as possibleConsume chocolate in moderation. A small bit of chocolate can be very satisfying if you savor each bite. If you crave chocolate when you are upset, bored or lonely you could benefit from resolving these underlying emotional issues (and we all have them) that are driving you to seek comfort from chocolate
Reasons To Love Chocolate
- Chocolate is high in the mineral magnesium which is essential for over 500 functions in the body including heart health and muscle function
- Chocolate may reduce the risk of heart failure. Murray Mittleman and his colleagues at Harvard Medical School studied data on 31,823 middle-aged and elderly Swedish women to assess the relationship between chocolate and heart failure. The women who consumed an average of one to two servings (a small amount) of high-quality, cocoa-rich chocolate per week had a 32 percent lower risk of experiencing heart failure
- Cocoa contains nutrients called proanthocyanidins. These phytonutrients have been shown in research to protect against carcinogens and nervous system toxins
- Chocolate lowers blood pressure in people whose blood pressure is high, according to a meta-analysis study published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
- Chocolate helps support the production of dopamine in the body. Dopamine is a brain chemical that helps us feel good. Impaired dopamine production is involved in brain disorders like Parkinson’s disease. Foods that aid the production of dopamine may be helpful in the prevention of this disease
- Chocolate helps lower LDL cholesterol and raises HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol)
- According to preliminary research in the journal Clinical Nephrology cocoa and dark chocolate may help protect the kidneys from disease
- Eating chocolate increases the levels of endorphins – the bodies own natural painkillers. Eating dark chocolate may help reduce pain
- Raw cacao increases the amount of a substance called N-arachidonoylethanolamine in the brain. It is a neurotransmitter that improves communication between brain and nerve cells. A study in Behavioral Pharmacology found that increases in this neurotransmitter improved memory in rats. It may also improve human memory
- Consumption of raw cacao increases weight loss in overweight individuals, according to research in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
- Eating dark chocolate causes the release of hormones called phenylethylamines (PEAs) that are also released when we are in love, helping us to feel happy
- The high concentration of the phytonutrients, called flavonoids, in dark chocolate are potent antioxidants. Antioxidants help eliminate free radicals associated with aging and inflammation in the body
- There are also an increasing number of high-quality chocolate bars available that are organic and "fair-trade" (fair trade products such as coffee or chocolate offer farmers in developing countries higher prices for their goods than they would typically receive on the world commodity markets and money is directed to social and environmental development as well as fair labour wages). Consider choosing these to make your next indulgence guilt-free
- Last but not least it tastes great
Brownies Without Flour16oz almond butter
3/4 cup honey
1 tbsp pure vanilla
1/2 cup pure cocoa powder
1/2 tsp pink salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup cacao nibs (optional)
Blend almond butter until smooth (microwave a little bit if needed).
Add eggs, honey and vanilla. Blend cocoa, salt, and baking soda.
Grease a 9x13 pan with coconut oil
Bake at 325° for 30-40 minutes
Warning: Eating these brownies may cause you to have THE BEST DAY EVER!
So the bottom line is, go ahead and indulge in some healthy chocolate. Yes, it contains sugar and that is hard on your immune system but by taking your Immunophen™ daily you can offset the downside of this tasty treat.
*Cacoa Nibs can be found in most health food stores. They are raw cocoa beans, bitter to taste but filled with magnesium. When added to the brownie recipe they add an extra depth of chocolate flavour and taste like chocolate chips.