Love Chocolate? It's good for your health!
I remember visiting Hershey Pennsylvania with my family when I was little and back then they let you go on a tour of the chocolate factory with no Plexiglas separating you from the big vats of chocolaty goodness. My mother was a self-proclaimed “chocoholic” and said that if she were ever diagnosed with a fatal disease she would jump into a vat of chocolate and die happy. Luckily, she wasn’t the one with the cancer diagnosis.
Hershey stopped letting you get that close to the chocolate years ago and my mother developed Diabetes which (sort of) ended her love affair with chocolate. But I think that I inherited her extreme love of the delicious treat. Since my diagnosis of cancer I try to avoid all sugar and gone are the days of snickers bars, double chocolate cake, hostess snacks, and Nestle crunch bars. Little Debbie will not be making an appearance at my house anymore! Fortunately, my love of chocolate didn’t have to completely end. I have fallen in love with REAL chocolate. The dark kind. The kind that isn’t heavily processed and mostly filled with sugar and cow’s milk (which is what people really crave).
Cacao, which is chocolate in its purest form is rich in antioxidants, minerals, and neurotransmitter properties. No added ingredients…just cacao! It is good for your heart, increases blood flow to the brain, helps with sleep deprivation, and increases brain function and memory. It also has high amounts of antioxidants that help the body fight against inflammation and free-radicals. The minerals in cacao include magnesium, iron, chromium, manganese, zinc, copper, and vitamin C.
Cacao is the ONLY food which contains Anandamine which is an endorphin that the body secretes after exercise. So, when you eat raw cacao, you get this instant release of endorphins that makes you feel good.
Cacao refers to the cocoa bean’s raw state, made by cold-pressing the bean after the fatty, buttery part has been removed while Cocoa has been roasted at high temperatures, a process, which reduces the living enzyme content thus also lowering its nutritional value. Much of the cocoa powder sold on the supermarket shelves also contains sugar…so read labels!
Sweet or milk chocolate is produced by adding sugar and vanilla to bitter chocolate. White chocolate contains sugar, cocoa butter, and milk solids.
I do agree that dark or bitter chocolate (with at least 70% cocoa) is an acquired taste, but once you acquire it, it’s sort of like falling in love with dry red wine….once you’ve fallen you just can’t go back to those sweet whites again 🙂 and knowing the health benefits of eating dark chocolate and cacao vs the health detriments of eating milk chocolate makes it a no-brainer for me.
Eat more dark chocolate…. After all, it’s good for you!