07 Jul HEALTH BENEFITS OF CHOCOLATE
Today, July 7, is World Chocolate Day!!! How many of you have or know someone who gets chocolate cravings??? Did you know that craving chocolate could mean a magnesium deficiency??? Did you know that dark chocolate has health benefits??? Well today I am going to tell you about dark chocolate’s health benefits and some recipes to help you enjoy World Chocolate Day!
HEALTH BENEFITS OF CHOCOLATE
The average American consumes 12 lbs of chocolate each year, and more than $75 billion worldwide is spent on chocolate annually. (1) That is a lot of chocolate! There are health benefits to chocolate but not all chocolate is the same. Processed, highly sweetened chocolate have very little, if any, real health benefits. Dark chocolate (70% cocoa content) is quite impressive.
Just an ounce of dark chocolate with 70 to 85 percent cacao solids contains: (2)
- 168 calories
- 12.8 g carbohydrates
- 2.2 g protein
- 12 g fat
- 3.1 g fiver
- 0.5 mg manganese (27% DV)
- 0.5 mg copper (25% DV)
- 3.3 mg iron (19% DV)
- 63.8 mg magnesium (16% DV)
- 86.2 mg phosphorus (9% DV)
- 200 mg potassium (6% DV)
- 2 mcg Vitamin K (3% DV)
- 1.9 mcg selenium (3% DV)
- 20.4 mg calcium (2% DV)
Dark chocolate also contains antioxidants that fight free radicals. Free radicals are unbalanced compounds found in the body due to normal cellular processes. Free radicals can cause damage to cells, tissue and your DNA. Antioxidants are free radical fighters. They neutralize free radicals and protect your body from the damage they may cause. Antioxidants are vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. There are two kinds of antioxidants in dark chocolate – flavonoids and polyphenols. In fact, dark chocolate has been shown to have the highest content of flavonoids and polyphenols. The higher the percent of cacao solids the more antioxidants you get!
Improved Heart Health
According to Cleveland Clinic, flavanols are the main type of flavonoid found in cocoa and chocolate. In addition to having antioxidant qualities, research shows that flavanols have other potential influences on vascular health, such as lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow to the brain and heart, and making blood platelets less sticky and able to clot. (3)
Improved Cognitive Function
With the improved blood flow to the brain comes better cognitive function. The Journal of Nutrition published a study in 2009 that showed increased cognitive performance with the intake of food that contained flavonoids (chocolate, wine and tea) in 70-74 year-olds. Participants that took all 3 had the most improved cognitive performance. (4)
Decreased Fasting Blood Sugar
There are numerous studies that have been done that shows that dark chocolate can reduce fasting blood sugar in diabetics. Study participants consumed 25 grams (just under an ounce) a day of dark or white chocolate for eight weeks. The participants who took dark chocolate had lower fasting blood sugars. (5) These participants also had hypertension and the participants who ate dark chocolate also had lower blood pressure.
Enough with the talk. I want some chocolate!!!
Here are five recipes to get you started on celebrating World Chocolate day. Remember to use greater than 75 percent cacao with your chocolate. If you prefer a bit more sweetened chocolate but don’t want to lose the health benefits I recommend Lily’s. Lily’s has baking bars and chocolate chips with no added sugar. They use stevia to sweeten.
- Suuuper Fudgy Cocoa Brownies – “These paleo and keto brownies are extra fudgy, super easy, just 5 ingredients and 1g net carb a pop!”
- Keto Flourless Chocolate Torte – You don’t even need to pull out your mixer for this chocolaty goodness!
- Keto Chocolate Lava Cake – “A deliciously decadent low carb chocolate lava cake with a gooey center. Only 5 ingredients!”
- Cream Cheese Dark Chocolate Fudge – This will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth and your chocolate craving.
- Double Chocolate Chip Cookies – Chocolate cookies with chocolate chips!
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Enjoy World Chocolate Day!