Chocolate: Heart Healthy and Antioxidant Rich

chocolate

I can think of no more fitting gift on Valentines Day than chocolate! Chocolate is the ideal symbol of love, because it not only represents the love that your partner feels for you but it also literally is good for your heart and your mood (and, we definitely want that up for Valentine’s Day, don’t we!)

Unfortunately, though, many recipients of this “love” are left feeling guilty thinking that it will make them gain weight or cause their face to break out. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Not only is chocolate not bad for you, but as long as you chose a high quality chocolate it is actually a good treat for you to indulge in on Valentine’s Day (or any other day for that matter!)

What are the nutritional benefits of chocolate?

Chocolate contains the photonutrients flavonol and polyphenol that are natural antioxidants, the alkaloids theobromine, phenethylamine and anandamide, and is rich in magnesium as well as iron. Chocolate can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes and dementia, balance brain chemistry, help build strong bones, help prevent cancerous activity and, last but not least, help with weight loss.

On top of all that, it contains and has been linked to higher levels of the mood-altering serotonin. Chocolate is a natural aphrodisiac and boosts our mood and energy! If you are an exhausted working mom like me, it is a great pick me up in the afternoon and healthier alternative to a Starbuck’s latte!

Is there a particular type you should buy?

Good question…and, the answer is yes! Before you reach for that Hershey’s milk chocolate bar, take a look at the label! Milk chocolate contains lots of sugar and dairy and many commercial brands are basically just candy disguised as chocolate! When you buy chocolate, it is very important to make sure that you buying one that has at least 60% pure dark chocolate and is free of added sugars, saturated fats and other artificial ingredients. Avoid the chocolates stuffed with caramel or the milk chocolates laden with milk fats and sugars! Pure dark chocolate is nature’s miracle food.

What are some of my favorite chocolates?

Raw Shakti Chocolate (Loco for Coconut my favorite!)

There are so many other bars on the market, but other bars my husband likes and are readily available are Green and Black and Dagoba. Experiment and see which brand you like best!

Hot Chocolate!

I also love to make hot chocolate on cold afternoons and use that as my healthy pick me up when I need a little boost and something warm and comforting! (I have included my recipe below.)

We are all chocoholics in our family and below are some of our favorite recipes. Not only are they packed with delicious chocolate, but they are nutritious too!

Can you eat as much as you want?

No! Just because chocolate has good qualities you can “have too much of a good thing!” In all honestly, while chocolate is full of beneficial antioxidants, it still does contain sugar and should be considered a treat. It also is an acidic food, which will make your body less alkaline and more acidic- not a good thing when you are trying to get healthy and/or lose weight! To read more about the importance of being alkaline in your diet read Here is the Skinny on Alkalinity.

The important thing to do, though, is listen to your body and, if you do indulge in chocolate, enjoy it fully and guiltlessly!

1 Comment

  • Nelson
    July 28th, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    .

    ñïñ….



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