The secret to eating chocolate guilt free and reaping all of its awesome health benefits is all in WHAT KIND & QUALITY OF CHOCOLATE you choose to eat.
- First rule of thumb is to choose DARK CHOCOLATE with a minimum 70% cacao and real food ingredients you know and recognize. True dark chocolate is made from a combination of four simple ingredients: cacao beans separated into cocoa powder and cocoa butter, sugar and vanilla. Milk chocolate has added powdered milk which is a highly processed substance you should avoid.
- Secondly, check the source of the chocolate, more specifically the cocoa bean's country of origin. Just as fine wines are made from specific grapes, and specialty coffee comes from superior coffee growing regions, chocolate is made from cacao which is the bean of the cacao tree. Experts will tell you the world's most aromatic and flavorful beans come from South America. Most companies mix lower quality beans from Africa or other growing regions but the finest chocolate is made from beans from South America.
- Last but not least, look out for sneaky ingredients like loads of sugar, emulsifiers, soy lecithin, artificial flavors and colors. Stick to natural flavors, spices and additions like nuts and coconut flakes. My absolute favorite sweet snack is dipping pure dark chocolate into almond butter or coconut butter. Heaven! No wonder they call it the "FOOD OF THE GODS!"
While you're enjoying rich dark chocolate you can ponder these amazing health facts:
- Dark chocolate is an antioxidant POWERHOUSE even more than blueberries and acai
- Dark chocolate contains theobromine shown to harden tooth enamel
- Quality dark chocolate is rich in fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, and manganese
- Dark chocolate helps suppress your appetite
- The bioactive compounds in cocoa can improve blood flow in the arteries and cause a statistically significant decrease in blood pressure
- Dark chocolate lowers the susceptibility of LDL to oxidative damage while increasing HDL and improving insulin sensitivity
- Dark chocolate may also improve brain function
- Dark chocolate is protective against cardiovascular disease
HOLY CACAO that's a lot of awesome!
Check out this video on how chocolate is made...