by Ali Holden
9 months ago
With Easter just around the corner, not only can you join in the chocolate fest (healthily), you can tell everyone just some of the reasons why your chocolate is a mood boosting, heart friendly, hormone balancing super-food (smug face)!
Doesn’t it feel fantastic to be told that some thing usually classed as a ‘guilt food’, is in fact, GOOD for you. In moderation of course!
7 Reasons Why Chocolate is a Super-Food (and Why its GOOD For You)
In it’s raw, un-tampered state, the cacao bean is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. It contains over 300 chemical compounds, making it a premium source of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, protein and healthy fats.
One of the best known dietary sources of magnesium and sulphur. Magnesium is an essential mineral which most of us are deficient in. Like calcium, it is important for building strong bones plus magnesium assists in converting essential fatty acids in the body. It also provides essential support for the heart and helps relieve PMT. Sulphur is known as the beauty mineral as it is beneficial for the hair, eyes, skin and teeth. Cacao also contains significant amounts of iron, phosphorus and the B vitamins.
Cacao contains nearly twice the amount found in red wine and three times that found in green tea. The antioxidants in cacao are easy to absorb by the body and have been shown to assist in cardiovascular health and help prevent against cancer. The antioxidant level in raw cacao powder is at least 7 times higher than in normal dark chocolate!!
These are substances which carry out chemical reactions in the brain. Cacao is home to the neurotransmitter anandamide, known as the bliss chemical, naturally found in the human brain. Cacao is the only food other than cannabis to contain this. It also contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid which the brain uses to make the neurotransmitter serotonin –an essential feel-good substance – a lack of it can be the cause of irritability, anger and depression. Cacao is also one of the best dietary sources of arginine, an amino acid also known as nature’s Viagra – need I say more…..?!
PEA ( phenylethylamine)
Known as the molecule of joy – a chemical produced in the brain when we are fully happy and immersed in the moment, especially when involved in creative activities such as painting, dancing or listening to music. Also very good for the brain and improves brain function. We also get high levels of this substance when we are in love.
These monoamine oxidase inhibitors inhibit monoamine oxidase enzymes, which has the effect of increasing levels of neurotransmitters in the body and having an anti-depressant effect.
Chocolate (cacao) does contain caffeine and theobromine – both stimulants but are proving to have far different effects when consumed raw than cooked. We get the benefits of increased focus and alertness and dilated blood vessels, but we do not get the negative effects of caffeine, such as the tense, wired, edgy feeling and it certainly does not elevate blood sugar levels in the way that cooked cocoa does. However, as it is so concentrated, our cravings are satisfied much quicker and so a little goes a long way!
Healthy Ways To Eat Chocolate
Chocolate Buying Tips
Following these chocolate buying guidelines will help you. Happy scoffing!
- Go Dark. Not all chocolate delivers cacao. Better quality chocolate should be mostly cacao. This means looking for greater than 70% percent of your dark chocolate to be from cacao.
- Go Organic. Chocolate is best when it is organic. Whether it is the cacao nibs directly extracted from the fruit’s bean or those turned into a powder that’s further processed, choosing organic chocolate helps ensure that you get a cleaner chocolate.
- Go Raw. Cacao and lightly processed chocolate contain healthy fatty acids as well as magnesium and flavonols, making them a great choice.
- Go for Good Fat. Let’s be ultra clear, it is CARBS that make you FAT and SICK. Top QUALITY fat will make you SLIM and HEALTHY. Including the fat from cacao butter.
- Go Dairy Free. Making your own chocolate is always best (see below), but there are some great products available now. Including Booja Booja dairy free range.
Make Your Own Raw Dairy Free Chocolate
Macadamia Fat Bombs
4oz cacao butter, 4 tablespoons cacao powder, 4 tablespoons yacon powder, half a cup coconut oil, 8oz finely chopped macadamia nuts.
- Gently melt the cacao butter & coconut oil in a bain marie (dish sitting on a pan of hot water)
- Sieve in the cacao and yacon powders (or swerve powder for Keto version)
- Stir in the nuts
- Pour into moulds
- When cool, place in the fridge
Makes 12 fat bombs
(Nutritional Content per fat bomb: 56g fat; 6g net carbs; 6g protein).
To the bliss of eating chocolate and to your great health,
Heather Sturmel (NHF post graduate), Ali and Lesley xxx
Disclaimer: this article is based on the opinion of Nutritional Therapists, Alison Holden or Lesley Pierce (unless otherwise noted). The information is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified therapist, your health care professional or your own intuition. It is not intended as medical advice, rather a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Alison Holden/Lesley Pierce and their community. Their goal is to inform you so you can make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your healthcare professional before using products based on this content.