Dark Cholocate for a Healthy Heart and a Happy Mind!

I read an interesting history of chocolate on the blog Afternoon Tea and it got me thinking about…chocolate.  I love chocolate.  I can resist sugared treats and salted treats, but I give into chocolate!

The chocolate industry would have us believe that chocolate is  good for us.  Hoping that is indeed the case I decided to do a little research, and I like what I found. However, we are talking about dark chocolate, not milk or white chocolate.

The health benefits from chocolate comes from the cocoa plant and dark   chocolate has 65% more cocoa than milk chocolate.  Since chocolate is made from plants,  it contains many of the health benefits of dark vegetables including antioxidants.  Dark chocolate contains almost 8 times the antioxidants as strawberries.

Dark chocolate is good for your heart. A little bit everyday (3.5 oz of dark chocolate without the caramel, nougat, peanut butter, etc) can help lower blood pressure and reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol.

And it is true, dark chocolate is therapeutic!  It stimulates endorphin production, giving us a feeling of pleasure; it contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant, and it contains theobromine, caffeine and other substances which are stimulants.

While chocolate does indeed have fat, only 1/3 of the fat in chocolate is bad for for our cholesterol.  1/3 of the fat (Oleic Acid) is a healthy monounsaturated fat that is also found in olive oil, 1/3 is Stearic Acid  which research has shown to be neither good nor bad,  and only 1/3 is a saturated fat that raises cholesterol — pretty good odds!

But (there are always buts), these health benefits are only for DARK chocolate.  We only want to consume 3.5 oz of dark chocolate a day for maximum benefit and we need to balance out those 200+ calories by eliminating something else from our diet.  And lastly —  some research shows that drinking a glass of milk with chocolate could prevent the antioxidants being absorbed or used by your body, thereby negating the heart healthy effects.  There we go again with milk being the enemy.

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5 responses to “Dark Cholocate for a Healthy Heart and a Happy Mind!

  1. Hi Grace: You are so right. DARK chocolate is indeed good for us, and surprisingly, the list of health benefits associated with dark chocolate and pure cacao keep building each week it seems. All the reason for us chocolate lovers to keep ourselves healthy and keep eating chocolate.

    If you want to find some of the world’s best, please visit my chocolate travel blog, where I’m scouring the world in search of the best of the best. Join us at http://diversionswithdoreen.com/.

  2. Hi Grace,

    I was never a big chocolate eater but now I have have a small amount of dark chocolate everyday and look forward to it. Thanks for the info.

  3. I am a big fan of our locally-grown Hawaiian chocolate. A lot of people are unaware that we grow cocoa beans in Hawaii. It’s not exactly a big industry. But over on the Kona-side of the Big Island of Hawaii, on the slopes of Hualalai Mountain, their are a select few farms growing criollo beans (the rarest and most expensive cocoa on the market).

    These are not the genetically influenced varieties that often pass as criollo beans. These are pure criollos, which are particularly difficult to grow, as they are vulnerable to a variety of environmental threats and produce low yields of cocoa per tree. The beans are all hand picked and sun-dried, as opposed to factory bin dried. They grow in the same region as pure Kona coffee because they both favor the same mountain climates.

    The flavor of criollo is delicate yet complex and is famous for its lingering rich aftertaste. Kona Criollo Dark Chocolate is a “big deal” hostess gift here in Hawaii because it is locally grown and hard to find and locals know that when you give that hostess gift, you brought quality. YUM!!!

    Have you ever tried Hawaiian chocolate? It’s very rare.

    Warmest aloha,
    Kay in Honolulu

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