Saturday, March 2, 2013

Chocolate Can Be Good For You

How can you resist the rich, creaminess of chocolate?! I know I can't. I used to be obsessed with chocolate. Wait...did I just say, used to? Yupp. Most chocolate contains dairy these days, and it doesn't make me feel good. So I usually pass. I do miss it, but for me it's easy to give up things that don't make me feel good. I have found a few dairy free chocolates these days. But they aren't like the typical "milk chocolate. These days, I'm glad I can't eat most chocolate candies. But I can have dark chocolate. As long as there's no dairy.

Would you think I'm crazy if I told you chocolate can be good for you? Well it can be good for you. But I'm not talking about the extremely, overly, processed, full of sugar chocolate. For example: Reese's, Snickers, Kit Kats, fudge, any other chocolate candy and candy bars. I'm talking about pure, natural dark chocolate. I'm not going to lie, I used to hate dark chocolate. It tasted like dirt to me. But I have grown a taste for it. There are still sometimes where it still tastes like dirt though. Once I realized the goodness of dark chocolate, I think I like it more.

Studies show that dark chocolate can contribute to many health benefits. It's packed with natural antioxidants, the same kind of antioxidants that green tea and blueberries provide. Chocolate comes from cacao beans, also know as coco beans, which grow on a cacao tree. Cacao beans are full of natural plant nutrients. All chocolate comes from cacao beans, but as soon as it is processed and loaded with sugar. All of the good nutrients are gone. That's why dark chocolate is best. It's the least processed.

Antioxidant packed dark chocolate, cell-protecting. Help with pre-maturing aging, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

Heart health studies have researched dark chocolate may be good for your heart. By reducing blood pressure, improving blood flow, showed mild anti-clotting effects and may prevent plaque formation in the arteries. Also, dark chocolate is on the low glycemic index, so it won't make your blood sugar spike.

Mood benefits in dark chocolate have been shown to enhance mood. It contains more than 500 natural chemical compounds that have categorized as mood-elevating and pleasure-inducing.

High in vitamins and minerals. Dark chocolate contains a high concentration of potassium, copper, iron, and magnesium. The copper and potassium in dark chocolate help prevent against stroke and cardiovascular ailments. The iron in chocolate protects against iron deficiency anemia, and the magnesium in chocolate helps prevent type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Things to remember:

When it comes to eating chocolate. Of course moderation is key. Having a small piece of dark chocolate doesn't hurt everyday. But it's not a good idea to eat a whole bar, every single day. 

To help with your health goals and to keep you on track. If you're craving something chocolate, reach for a small piece of dark chocolate. If you aren't to fond of the taste. Try melting a small amount and drizzle it over strawberries. Once you eat more dark chocolate, the taste will grow on you.

 Stay far away from white chocolate!!! There is no such thing as "white chocolate" It is just an over processed combination of sugar, milk solids, cocoa butter, and salt. There isn't even any cocoa solids found in white chocolate. Therefore, it's not even technically chocolate.

Milk chocolate isn't much better than white. It has added milk and sugars, that just cut out all the natural benefits chocolate has to offer.  

Make dark chocolate your little indulgence every week. You'll trick yourself into thinking you're having a "treat" but in reality, it's a healthy treat. 

Cheers to dark chocolate goodness!