Like I even have to give you one reason to sink your teeth into a piece of chocolate, hahahaha! But, I am giving you ten reasons to indulge in organic Fair Trade (Fair Trade certification ensures that farmers receive a fair price, allows farmers to invest in techniques that bring out the flavors of the region, and strictly prohibits slave and child labor.) dark chocolate.
Cocoa is filled with good nutrition. It is the chocolate powder made from roasted and ground cacao seeds. Chocolate consumption has been linked with a reduction in the risk of diabetes and the promotion of good heart health through its association with lowering bad cholesterol (LDL), raising good cholesterol (HDL) and lowering blood pressure.
10 reasons to eat chocolate:
1. Chocolate tastes good!
2. CATECHINS in chocolate are antioxidants (prevents oxidative damage to cells). Catechins may help to protect against heart disease and cancer by preventing oxidative damage, helping to regulate blood pressure, and by stimulating the immune system, http://nutrition.ucdavis.edu/content/infosheets/fact-pro-catechin.pdf.
3. PHENYLETHYLAMINE is a neurotransmitter that is considered a mood enhancer. It is also used to help aid in weight loss.
4. VITAMIN E is a fat soluble antioxidant. It, like catechins, protects the body against free radical damage and helps to maintain a healthy immune system.
5. COPPER is an essential (the body cannot make it on its own, it must be consumed through food) trace element and acts as a catalyst in the formation of red blood cells, muscle function, bone health, growth, strengthening the immune system, supporting the nervous system, healthy skin, nails and hair.
6. MAGNESIUM is a mineral involved in biochemical reactions in the body. It’s involvement in protein synthesis, bone development, normal blood sugar and blood pressure, muscle contraction, strong bones, a regular heart beat and so much more, http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/.
7. IRON, an essential mineral, carries oxygen to cells throughout the body (especially the muscles), to help provide energy and it is essential for red blood production and is involved in nourishing skin, hair, and nails.
8. ENDORPHINS are neurotransmitters, also known as “hormones of happiness” or the cause of “the runners high” that accompanies prolonged activity. They stimulate natural opiates in our bodies, resulting in positive mood and calmness, may help control appetite and are involved in the release of sex hormones.
9. TANNINSare water-soluble antioxidants found in plant foods. Tannins act as antimicrobials (protecting against tooth decay), antifungals and antivirals. They are also abundant in tea and have been linked to contributing to lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.
10. FLAVANOLS are antioxidants. Studies suggest that flavanols may help improve the function of the brain by boosting memory and learning capacity via by blood flow to the brain, http://www.medsci.org/press/cocoa.html.
So indulge, eat chocolate to your hearts’ content…Not! When cocoa is processed (fermentation, alkalizing and roasting) into chocolate many of the popular brands of chocolate like Hershey’s or even Godiva use excess sugar, trans fats, corn syrup or ingredients that negate the natural health benefits of cocoa.
There is a great variation in the nutritional value of chocolates. Read a label and look for the least amount of ingredients. The ingredients listed below are for 85% Lindt chocolate:
INGREDIENTS: chocolate, cocoa powder, cocoa butter, sugar, bourbon vanilla beans.
This is not so bad. Sugar is the 4th of 5 ingredients. Add a couple of cashews or almonds to cut the bitter taste of high cocoa chocolate. Two squares contain 3 grams of fiber and 7.5 grams of carbohydrates.
Choose your chocolate wisely, get the highest cocoa content you can tolerate and as you get used to it, work your way up from there to higher percentages of cocoa. Select brands with minimal sugar and without hydrogenated oils (trans fat), corn syrup, etc…. Buy organic fair trade brands if possible or find chocolate like this Lindt bar to enjoy!