The Good Fat
The former guilty pleasure is no longer guilty of adding fat to your thighs; in fact, in moderation it can help take it off! The “food of the gods” branded by the ancient Mayans and Aztecs is a “Super food,” beneficial to your health in so many ways.
How Good Fats are Good for you
The cocoa butter in chocolate is turned into a heart healthy Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acid “MUFA” (MUFA’s are unsaturated fats that are flexible, easily glide through the bloodstream to help unclog and protect arteries from building up.) in your body just like olive oil. We are not talking about mass produced chocolate with additives or milk, but high-quality plain dark chocolate with high cocoa content.
Oils, olives, avocados, nuts and seeds and dark chocolate, the most beloved of all the MUFA’s in the good fat family and should be eaten daily. However, it’s not a license to consume mass quantities, a little a day goes a long way. Eating a MUFA at and in between meals is the key to reducing your appetite. Cortisol, the underling enemy that causes stress eating, simulates the appetite but specifically induces cravings for sugar and fat, MUFA’s help reduce those cravings.
Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants called flavanols that boost good HDL cholesterol, and reduces the harmful effects of LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. Flavonoids are plant pigments found in dark green vegetables, berries, green tea, chocolate, many spices and nuts and red wine. Antioxidants are believed to help the body’s cells resist damage caused by free radicals. An anti-inflammatory, that offers powerful protection against cancer, heart disease, type two diabetes and other diseases. Youthful looking skin is another bonus to eating foods rich in MUFA’s, part of an anti-aging regimen.
Quality chocolate also helps control insulin levels (good news for diabetics ) and relax blood vessels, lowering blood pressure, and provides important minerals including magnesium, copper, potassium, calcium, and iron lacking in the American diet. Key is to look for chocolate with a 70% cacao or more, this indicates less sugar content.
The Caffeine Myth
Dark chocolate contains small amounts of caffeine, not nearly as much as in coffee, and it would not be typical for someone to consume enough dark chocolate in a single sitting to equal the amount of caffeine found in a cup of coffee. In general, a dark chocolate bar is eaten in small pieces, not all at once. Most manufacturers of quality dark chocolate mold the chocolate with deep scores, the intent being that the chocolate be eaten in small bite-size pieces and savored.
Resveratrol: March 11, 2013 — Scientists have homed in on how resveratrol — a chemical commonly found in red wine and chocolate — works to prevent cell aging, which could eventually lead to the development of synthetic drug treatments for obesity, diabetes, cancer, and other conditions, according to new research published in Science.
Though researchers have been looking at resveratrol for years, this new research, from Harvard Medical School, is considered a breakthrough in understanding the chemical’s potential to increase the activity of a protein called SIRT1, which helps fuel the power-producing parts of cells and in turn may fight age-related illnesses like cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes. See link below for entire story.
How do I know this works?
About 10 years ago, in my mid-forties, overweight by 46 lbs and too old to claim it was baby fat, I decided to take care of myself. After much research on how to eat healthy and added exercising
regularly, I discovered the Mediterranean diet to maintain my 5-foot, 105lb frame easily and without staving. Part of my diet is indulging in pure dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa; it is so richly delicious that a single piece is a satisfying snack or after-dinner treat.
Rock Stars of the nutrition world
A few of the guru’s that guided me back to health and inspired me to create Exotic Chocolate Tasting to share the passion for the best chocolates and the chocolate health benefits.
Click the book titles to go to Amazon to purchase.
Prevention, the healthy-living magazine and The New York Times bestseller Flat Belly Diet book.
How to choose quality chocolate based on the label
• 1st ingredient: cocoa, cacao beans, chocolate liquor or cocoa mass
• 2nd ingredient, sugar: look for cane sugar for the cleanest taste or unrefined cane syrup
• 3rd ingredient: cocoa butter, the good fat found in cacao
• May contain but not required in the best chocolates: vanilla and Soy Lecithin in small amounts
• Avoid non-cocoa butter fats, partially hydrogenated oil, butter oil, wax, mike fat, whey, and coconut and palm kernel oils. These additives are done to reduce the cost of making chocolate, at the expense of quality.
• Look for artisan chocolates; they manufacture their chocolates in small patches
• Organic is always preferred
• Fair or Direct Trade ensures fair compensation to the cacao farmers, enslaved children are not used, and the integrity of the rain forests remains in tacked. Chocolate is one of the most affordable gourmet foods, so don’t deny yourself this true gift of nature. Life’s too short to eat bad chocolate!
Resources: Eat Chocolate, Slim Down
Resources: Dr Andrew Weil on Chocolate
Resources: Is sugar toxic?
Resources: Health Benefits of Raw Chocolate
Resources: WebMD:Dark Chocolate is Healthy chocolate
Resources: Lower Blood Pressure with Dark Chocolate
Resources: Chocolate helps reduce risk of strokes
Resources: Diabetes Monitor
Resources: Consumer Reports on Dark Chocolate
Resources: CNN Health – March 2010
Resources: Raw Chocolate – Good for your health