Super Food 8: Dark Chocolate
Chocolate. Just the word conjures up images of sweet and satisfying indulgence. But did you know that a good quality dark chocolate can actually deliver multiple health benefits?
Dark chocolate is classified as containing more than 70% cocoa. The higher the percentage of cocoa (and bitterness in taste), the greater the health benefits. So forget the cheap sugary dark chocolate and try gluten free organic ones with a high cocoa component.
My personal faves are Alter Eco's Dark Blackout (85% cocoa) and Dark Quinoa Crunch chocolate which are available in health food stores throughout Australia.
The news of health benefits coupled with chocolate is welcome news to an addict like myself, although a disclaimer follows that that sadly even dark chocolate needs to be eaten in moderation (20g or less a day), due to its high calorie count.
So what makes dark chocolate such a superfood?
5 Facts About Dark Chocolate You Didn't Know
- High in fibre, iron and magnesium. Many people with coeliac disease also have low iron levels - in fact, that is how I first found out I was coeliac... so that is another reason to incorporate some yummy good quality dark chocolate into your daily diet!
- Antioxidant rich. Dark chocolate is loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants and can provide a benefit beyond basic nutrition. These include flavonols which may help maintain cardiovascular health, improve insulin sensitivity (rejoice diabetics) and even boost brain power.
- Dark chocolate can make you more beautiful. It's true! Dark chocolate is said to help combat beauty's public enemy number one: stress. Cocoa helps reduce stress hormones, which means less collagen breakdown in the skin, and fewer wrinkles.
- It contains the "bliss chemical", a type of lipid called anandamide. Usually this chemical is easily broken down by the body, but dark chocolate contains chemicals that inhibit the breakdown of this lipid, giving you a lasting sense of peace and well-being.
- May help you lose weight by decreasing your appetite. Of course, this only works if the dark chocolate is eaten in moderation! You see dark chocolate contains healthy fats, which slow the absorption of sugar into the blood stream. That helps prevent the dreaded insulin spike, which directs sugar straight into your fat cells.
Check out my Recipe for Black Forest Chocolate Brownies
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