You know what they say, “chocolate is for life, not just Christmas.”
Can’t help but yearn for that chocolatey taste as it melts in your mouth? You’re not alone.
Chocolate is a little gift of joy that has been proven time after time to have many positive health benefits, both mental and physical.
- Improved moods and decreased anxiety levels
- Anti-inflammatory effects on our bodies which fight off chronic illnesses like arthritis and rheumatism etc.
- Reduced blood pressure
- Lowers bad cholesterol levels while raising good ones
- Improve insulin sensitivity
…and the list goes ON!!!
Who would have thought chocolate had a salubrious side? Next time someone asks you if chocolate is healthy, you can give them a resounding YES. Don’t believe me? Read on…
Is Chocolate Healthy?
Not too long ago, doctors recommended smoking as good for you, margarine was better than butter and chocolate was a cause of acne and high cholesterol levels. But one study goes even further to suggest that it may be one the most functional foods out there, a great brain saver!
Of course, we don’t need any persuading on how delicious craft chocolate tastes with its rich flavour profiles – it’s perfect for those seeking pleasure without pain or health risks.
Chocolate may be a good source of antioxidants and can also lower your risk for heart disease by scavenging free radicals. Free radicals attack the body’s cells which then leads to even greater damage that could lead to cancer or degenerative diseases in all parts of our bodies!
There are two major types of cells in our bodies: normal oxygen-using “functional” tissues and immune cells. The battle between antioxidants and free radicals takes place at the most basic level within these barriers, with one group stealing an electron from another to become more powerful. This process creates what we know as a ‘free radical.’
Free radicals can cause damage when they’re not neutralised quickly enough by antioxidant molecules such as minerals or vitamin C for example, which has been proven especially true with regards to oxidative stress on brain tissue. The brain is particularly susceptible because in order for it to function efficiently it consumes lots of oxygen (20%) while weighing only 2% of our body weight.
Free radicals are molecules in our environment that can cause damage to cells. They enter the body through pollution, fried food, even normal metabolic processes and age-related deterioration is also attributed to this type of cellular destruction which includes cognitive decline as people age. Alzheimer’s disease has been linked specifically due to its association with oxidative stress on fatty membranes covering all brain cells.
But there’s good news – antioxidants like vitamins C & E will help protect you against these damaging chemicals so your brain stays healthy as well!
The body ups its game when you need it most. Antioxidants are those little fighters in our cells that protect us from all sorts of ills, and they’re found everywhere, even in plants!
Colourful fruits and vegetables pack a punch with these powerful molecules so we can enjoy them every day without worrying about what’s good or bad for us if they are in our regular healthy diet.
There’s no shortage of antioxidant protection within human dietary needs. Nearly 100 different plant compounds have been shown to possess this power. However, scientists suspect more exist yet undetected due to largely modern farming practices. Go organic whenever possible for the greater gains for all-around health!
Antioxidants are compounds that protect cells from the damages of free radicals. While many fruit and vegetables contain antioxidants, cocoa has been found to be one of their most powerful sources!
The polyphenols in particular makeup about 4/6ths or so of the total antioxidant capacity for this group with an average concentration ten times greater than other plants such as berries (100 mg).
The Feel-good Factor of Dark Chocolate
Looking for a great way to get these protective nutrients into your diet? Try adding some raw cocoa nibs to your breakfast to start your day with a delicious antioxidant punch. They will improve your mood and keep you full longer while providing the energy needed throughout the day.
You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear people say this again “the darker the chocolate, the better”. That’s because polyphenols are found in cocoa beans (nibs) – not milk or cream!
In general terms of how antioxidants work is that they’re usually present as pigments of fruits and vegetables with more colourful foods being higher on their list. As a result, when we eat them our bodies can utilise those nutrients from what might be otherwise deceased cells due to lack of use.
The sheer weight behind these findings shows just how much we’re impressed by dark chocolate’s ability to fight off disease-causing agents while also boosting moods significantly.
Besides cocoa nibs, hot chocolate is another great way to get your polyphenol fix without adding too many pounds. One cup of hot cocoa contains five times as many antioxidants as what you would find in one or two glasses of red wine, according to studies conducted by Dr. Joe Vinson. To make sure that this tasty treat doesn’t pack on any extra weight try making it with 100% pure organic cocoa powder, homemade always tastes better right?
Eating a little bit of dark chocolate or some cocoa nibs every day is good for you. “People thank me all the time for telling them that this delicious treat has many benefits,” says Dr. Vinson, and he’s not wrong! I can testify personally how good I feel eating cocoa nibs and dark chocolate daily as part of my healthy lifestyle.
In fact, research continues to show how eating cocoa can improve mood as well as energy levels because it contains tryptophan – an amino acid crucial in producing serotonin which helps regulate emotions such as depression or anxiety disorders.” Makes sense right?
We all know too well how depression has increased with mandated Lockdowns. Now I’m not saying eating chocolate can fix governments overreach of our personal lives, but we can control how we feel and there’s no doubt that chocolate simply makes you feel good! Follow the science and remember chocolate is for life, not just Christmas… or Lockdown.
Written by Perry Stevens – Anarchy Chocolate – The Taste of Freedom
Handcrafted Thai chocolate from the tree to bar. Made in Trat, Thailand.
This article was first published on BarTalks.net on 17 November 2021.
Chocolate is For Life, Not Just Christmas