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Is chocolate a health food?

Vickie Dickson

By Vickie Dickson

Chocolate is a Health Food.

Do I have your attention?

While researching for this article, I came across this set of instructions for eating chocolate:

When tasting chocolate, let it sit in your mouth to release the primary flavours and aromas. Then, chew it a few times to release the secondary aromas. Let it rest against the roof of your mouth to get the full flavour.

Can you taste it? I can! Time to hit the local Health Food Store for some dark, rich, “therapeutic” chocolate.

To be clear, the chocolate that I’m speaking of is dark- the darker, the better. While it may not have the smooth, creamy texture that makes milk chocolate so popular, it lacks the high sugar content. Also, unlike milk chocolate, dark chocolate has not been stripped of its beneficial nutrients. It is an acquired taste, but within a short period of time, your palette will adapt and be completely satisfied with a small serving of dark chocolate. I promise.

There are many health benefits that come from eating dark chocolate, some of which are listed below.

  • It is rich in antioxidants and natural compounds that are good for cardiovascular health. The darker the chocolate, the higher the antioxidants (milk chocolate has few, if any, antioxidants).
  • Bacteria in the gut will break down and ferment components in the dark chocolate, turning them into absorbable, anti-inflammatory compounds.
  • Like aspirin, dark chocolate has a biochemical effect that reduces the excessive accumulation of platelets, which can cause harmful blood clots.
  • The flavonoids in dark chocolate may help the brain after a stroke by increasing cellular signals that shield nerve cells from damage
  • Raw, dark chocolate prevents oxidative damage to blood vessel linings, which effectively relaxes blood vessels and lowers blood pressure.
  • The fat (cocoa butter) found in raw, dark chocolate is a healthy fat and as such, helps to slow the absorption of sugar into the blood stream.

Clearly, we are not talking about your mass produced candy bars here. Please leave the Kit-Kats, the Mars Bars and the Oh Henry’s on the shelf.   The chocolate that boasts the most health benefits is the kind that is closest to the natural, raw state of the cocoa bean. The closer to the raw state, the higher the health benefits (like most foods)!

When purchasing raw, dark chocolate, you will find it on the shelf of your local Health Food Store. To receive the greatest health benefits, look for chocolate that is:

  • fair trade
  • organic
  • non GMO
  • high cocoa content
  • low sugar content
  • not artificially sweetened

As with all things, moderation is key.  Two squares of raw, dark chocolate is a serving, not the whole bar!

Happy Valentines Day!

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Is chocolate a health food?

Vickie Dickson

By Vickie Dickson

Chocolate is a Health Food.

Do I have your attention?

While researching for this article, I came across this set of instructions for eating chocolate:

When tasting chocolate, let it sit in your mouth to release the primary flavours and aromas. Then, chew it a few times to release the secondary aromas. Let it rest against the roof of your mouth to get the full flavour.

Can you taste it? I can! Time to hit the local Health Food Store for some dark, rich, “therapeutic” chocolate.

To be clear, the chocolate that I’m speaking of is dark- the darker, the better. While it may not have the smooth, creamy texture that makes milk chocolate so popular, it lacks the high sugar content. Also, unlike milk chocolate, dark chocolate has not been stripped of its beneficial nutrients. It is an acquired taste, but within a short period of time, your palette will adapt and be completely satisfied with a small serving of dark chocolate. I promise.

There are many health benefits that come from eating dark chocolate, some of which are listed below.

  • It is rich in antioxidants and natural compounds that are good for cardiovascular health. The darker the chocolate, the higher the antioxidants (milk chocolate has few, if any, antioxidants).
  • Bacteria in the gut will break down and ferment components in the dark chocolate, turning them into absorbable, anti-inflammatory compounds.
  • Like aspirin, dark chocolate has a biochemical effect that reduces the excessive accumulation of platelets, which can cause harmful blood clots.
  • The flavonoids in dark chocolate may help the brain after a stroke by increasing cellular signals that shield nerve cells from damage
  • Raw, dark chocolate prevents oxidative damage to blood vessel linings, which effectively relaxes blood vessels and lowers blood pressure.
  • The fat (cocoa butter) found in raw, dark chocolate is a healthy fat and as such, helps to slow the absorption of sugar into the blood stream.

Clearly, we are not talking about your mass produced candy bars here. Please leave the Kit-Kats, the Mars Bars and the Oh Henry’s on the shelf.   The chocolate that boasts the most health benefits is the kind that is closest to the natural, raw state of the cocoa bean. The closer to the raw state, the higher the health benefits (like most foods)!

When purchasing raw, dark chocolate, you will find it on the shelf of your local Health Food Store. To receive the greatest health benefits, look for chocolate that is:

  • fair trade
  • organic
  • non GMO
  • high cocoa content
  • low sugar content
  • not artificially sweetened

As with all things, moderation is key.  Two squares of raw, dark chocolate is a serving, not the whole bar!

Happy Valentines Day!

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