Chocolate! Also known as love, relief, joy, euphoria…wouldn’t you agree?! But how many of us berate ourselves for craving it and eating it? Well I’m about to tell you why you can stop doing that right now. In fact, I’m going to be your new best friend, as I’m about to prove to you that yes, you can eat chocolate, feel good about yourself, and still be healthy…
Attention chocolate lovers! You need to know these two things…
If you love chocolate, you must be a God or Goddess!
Did you know that?
The Latin name for chocolate literally translates into, “Food of the Gods.”
So, clear a path through the clouds and transcend your way to heaven, the angels are waiting for you! You my friend…are a chocolate Goddess!
CHOCOLATE IS HEALTHY FOR YOU!
Now before you start clearing out the supermarket aisles, I need you to know that when I make this claim, I’m not talking about any ol’ Caramello Koala, Snickers or Hershey’s Bar.
Regular chocolate, such as milk chocolate and the rainbow assortment of bars on the shop shelves, and yes, even chocolate from that rascally character Willy Wonka (#sorry), is full of processed sugar, emulsifiers, dairy, flavourings and all sorts of other ingredients which are not healthy for our bodies and have the potential to make our weight and bellies blow up Violet Beauregarde style (although we probably won’t turn blue and this type of weight gain probably would occur over a period of time and not in thirty seconds).
IF YOU WANT TO EAT CHOCOLATE AND STAY HEALTHY, HERE’S TWO THINGS YOU NEED TO DO
1.) You need to eat a good quality dark chocolate, made with natural ingredients, that’s at least 70% or greater, dark – like the Rumbles 70% dark choc rocks!
And just what does this percentage mean?
Well it indicates the percentage of chocolate’s hero ingredient contained in the chocolate, the ingredient that actually makes chocolate good for us.
Can you guess what that ingredient is?
If you said cocoa, or cacao, you’d be correct, and we’ll be sending you around a cheque for a million dollars to celebrate your winning answer (NOTE: your cheque will be in the mail as soon as I earn a million dollars, so best not wait by the door for your prize)
2.) You need to eat only a small amount; we’re talking a few squares and not a few blocks!
But the good thing is, when you’re eating dark chocolate, you’re more than likely not going to want to eat a whole block anyways, but I’ll explain why later on in the article…
THE NEW CARPE DIEM, IS CARPE COCOA – SEIZE THE CHOCOLATE
Cocoa, or cacao, is the hero ingredient in chocolate, so the higher percentage, the better the chocolate is for you.
(And if you’re wondering what the difference is between cocoa and cacao, here’s your simple answer: cocoa is simply roasted cacao.)
Cocoa comes from a bean, inside the fruit (called pods) of the cocoa tree (Theobroma cacao).
And the spectacular thing about cacao/cocoa is that it’s high in antioxidants which are packed with phenolic phytochemicals and flavonoids which can do all sorts of wondrous things for your body and your health…
TEN REASONS WHY CHOCOLATE IS GOOD FOR YOU
1.) CHOCOLATE CAN IMPROVE YOUR MOOD!
How good do you feel after that first bite of chocolate? Your eyes roll back into the back of your head and the whole world disappears right!? It’s like you can breathe again and life all of a sudden becomes a little easier.
It’s sooooooo good, wouldn’t you agree?
Chocolate actually helps to relieve stress, not just because it tastes so good and you can dissolve into that good feeling, but also because it causes the release of “happiness neurotransmitters”, namely serotonin, dopamine & endorphins.
Not only that, while you’re disappearing into the depths of chocolate ecstasy (B.Y.O. life rafts) you’re letting go of stress and hence halting the flow of cortisol throughout your body. Cortisol is a stress hormone that can, if left unchecked, lead to serious health problems.
Not only that, cortisol is a weight storing hormone which leads me to my next point…
2.) CHOCOLATE CAN HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT!
Now put those car keys down, let’s not drive round and raid Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory too hastily…
Let’s get back to cortisol for a moment (see above point if you’ve just skimmed down to this point and are wondering what I’m talking about)…
Cortisol is actually a weight storing hormone, so when we can reduce its flow in the body, we can improve our ability to shed the pounds. So, a piece or two of good quality dark chocolate to help us in times of stress, and not a never-ending supply of Wonka’s Scrumdiddlyumptious Bars, can help to reduce cortisol and improve our ability to lose weight.
3.) CHOCOLATE CAN HELP YOU FEEL FULL
Not only that, dark chocolate is quite filling. Ever consumed one, or two, or three, or four regular chocolate bars and felt like you could still eat more? (I have!)
It’s very hard to have this same experience while eating dark chocolate. In fact, after two or three squares of dark chocolate, something called satiation kicks in, which is the feeling of being full.
Dark chocolate can also reduce our cravings for sweet, salt and fatty foods!
How awesome is that?
4.) CHOCOLATE CAN MAKE YOU EAT LESS!
One study went about giving participants a 100g serve of either milk or dark chocolate two hours prior to being seated at an all-you-can-eat buffet. Those who ate the dark chocolate consumed 17% less calories at the buffet compared to those who ate the milk chocolate.
5.) CHOCOLATE IS GOOD FOR YOUR SKIN
So, go on, melt some down and paint your face with it!
And after you’ve done that, come back here and continue reading and I’ll tell you why chocolate is so good for that skin of yours…
London researchers fed both low and high flavanol chocolate to two groups of women for twelve weeks. Those consuming the high flavanol chocolate, on average, had 25% less UV-induced erythema (sunburn) after exposure in a solar simulator than those who ate the low flavanol chocolate!
Additionally, increased skin density and better hydration was reported on those of the high flavanol chocolate.
Ok, you can eat that chocolate off your face now!
6.) PROTECTS FROM DISEASE-CAUSING FREE RADICALS
As previously stated, the cacao in chocolate is extremely high in antioxidants, specifically flavonoids and polyphenols.
What’s so good about antioxidants?
Well they’re like The Avengers: they’re super-hero compounds that fly around our bodies fighting off the bad guys, namely free-radicals. Free radicals are unstable thieves! They steal electrons from other molecules – fats, proteins, cell membranes, DNA – altering their ability to perform optimally.
7.) CAN COMBAT INSULIN RESISTANCE & INSULIN SPIKES
The healthy fats contained in good quality dark chocolate, slow the absorption of sugar in the blood stream, hence helping to prevent the dreaded insulin spike which actually causes the body to shuttle sugar straight into fat cells…yikes! Not only that, insulin spikes cause us to become ravenously hungry as soon as they wear off causing many of us to become crazed carb/sugar fiends – signal the desperate dash to the doughnut shop!
One study by the University of L’Aquila in Italy, also showed that people who ate a candy bar’s worth of dark chocolate once a day for 15 days in a row, actually decreased their potential for insulin resistance by almost 50%!
8.) IT’S GOOD FOR YOUR HEART
The flavanols found in dark chocolate have been shown to do the following:
- Lower blood pressure
- Make blood platelets less stick and able to clot which can reduce the risk of stroke
9.) CHOCOLATE CAN IMPROVE CHOLESTEROL
Recent studies are showing that polyphenol-rich dark chocolate can increase HDL (good) cholesterol and reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol.
10.) IT CAN BOOST COGNITIVE FUNCTION
The ingestion of flavanol-rich cocoa has been associated with increased blood flow to cerebral grey matter, with some suggesting it could be beneficial in treating those with dementia and stroke.
OUR FAVOURITE TYPES OF DARK CHOCOLATE TO EAT
Rumbles Choc Rocks of Course!
They’re 70% dark and made with only three natural ingredients: cocoa, coconut sugar and vanilla.
Click the image below to order your Rumbles Chocolate!
These are small nibs of pure cacao without anything added to them. They’re quite bitter but definitely provide you with that “chocolate” hit. Sprinkle them on smoothies, use them in trail mixes or add them to your Paleo baking recipes.
OUR FAVOURITE CHOCOLATE RECIPES FROM OUR BLOG:
Click images &/or titles below for recipes…
A FEW PRECAUTIONS ABOUT EATING CHOCOLATE
- If you’re sensitive to caffeine or looking to avoid it, then keep in mind that chocolate does contain caffeine.
- If you’re breast feeding or pregnant, avoid consuming large amounts of chocolate
- If picking a dark chocolate from the supermarket, be careful of the ingredient soy lecithin, often added as an emulsifying agent, as it is a possible allergen. Best to just buy Rumbles Choc Rocks!
- The Mayo Clinic has linked chocolate to possible acne, bloating, gas, headaches, irritability, migraines and sleep disturbances. This can generally be avoided by consuming only very small amounts of dark chocolate.
A HAPPY ENDING
Regardless of these ‘potential’ side-effects, many health experts agree, that having one or two pieces of dark chocolate a day (1-2 ounces or 50-60g), is perfectly healthy. Because it’s an antioxidant powerhouse and has so many wonderful health promoting side-effects (as spoken about above), dark chocolate can be a gloriously, delicious addition to your diet 🙂