I thought that my first post would be about something we all love🥰…chocolate. Can chocolate actually be good for you? I have good and bad news 🤷🏻♀️ Bad first, so we end on a positive note. Most chocolate types are a HUGE no no ❌ (milk, white, etc), mainly because of the additives, like palm oil and sugar 👎🏼, however there’s one chocolate type that’s actually beneficial to our health-yes you guessed! It’s dark chocolate 👌🏼, but it has to contain at least 70% cocoa or higher (not the sugary crap). The higher the cocoa %, the lower the sugar content + higher concentrations of antioxidants and nutrients-remember that!
🤤 A balanced diet is chocolate in both hands 🤪
- Fiber ✅ – prebiotic fiber that feeds your healthy gut bacteria!
- Iron ✅ – cacao is one of the best plant sources of iron. Iron is the mineral important for immunity, brain function and vital for making haemoglobin to carry oxygen around the body! -making red blood cells.
- Copper ✅ -triggers the release of iron . But wait isn’t copper a heavy metal?! So much bad press is associated with that word. So to answer that, YES, copper is a heavy metal like mercury or lead, and YES these are the bad guys. However, funnily enough copper is actually a mineral (a nutrient) that our bodies need (in small amounts) to function properly
- Magnesium ✅ -🤩Cocoa is amongst the richest foods in Magnesium🤩. Since so many of us are magnesium deficient, adding magnesium rich dark chocolate can be great to our overall health! Especially bone 🦴 health and to de-stress 😅
- Manganese ✅ -helps to make & activate certain enzymes in the body, including those that are involved in the breakdown of food, so important for digestion
- Potassium ✅ -a mineral that functions as an electrolyte once in our body. Important for regulating fluid balance, nerve signals and muscle contractions
- Phosphorus ✅ -again this mineral does a lot in our bodies from keeping our bones strong and healthy💪🏼🦴, helping to move your muscles to helping us make energy and even things like maintaining a regular heartbeat 💓. 🤩 Interestingly, phosphorus is the second most plentiful mineral in your body. What is the first? … CALCIUM 🤩, I’ll definitely be making a post on calcium alone 😉, so watch this space!
- Zinc ✅ – a mineral important for body growth and development, DNA synthesis, immunity, skin health, wound healing, nerve function and many other…
- Selenium ✅ -a powerful antioxidant that has many health benefits, including good memory, preventing mental decline, and keeping our thyroid gland happy 😊, therefore working properly. 🤩 Just 28 grams of Brazil nuts 🇧🇷 has 988% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)🤩 988%‼️😲 WOW‼️ So have as little as 1-3 brazilian nuts per day, and you’re sorted ✔️ (perhaps having a handful of mixed nuts⁉️)
It’s loaded with these ☝🏼 minerals and therefore it’s very nutritious! 💪🏼 The fats in both cocoa and dark chocolate are mainly saturated and monounsaturated ✅, with small amounts of polyunsaturated ❌. Dark chocolate contains small amounts of sugar, so choose good quality and eat in moderation (that applies to any food really) 😉. Also, it contains stimulants like; caffeine (which we all heard of before ☕️) and theobromine. It won’t keep you from catching 😴zzZZZs at night, as the amount of caffeine is very small when compared to for example a cup of coffee. Actually magnesium was shown to improve sleep, having a relaxing and calming effect on our nervous system 🥱😴 (de-stressing effect) 👌🏼☺️
🧐 Did you know❓❓❓
🤩Dark chocolate prevents tooth decay🤩. Research has found that the theobromine in chocolate prevents tooth decay by eliminating a bacteria found in the oral cavity that contributes to tooth decay (Streptococcus mutans) 🦷.
High in Antioxidants
Antioxidants are very important because they protect cells and tissues from damage by free radicals (which are unstable molecules that can alter and weaken body cells). Consider antioxidants consumption in a diet as an insurance policy 🛡 against the wear and tear that comes from stress, poor diet, or just the unavoidable process of ageing 🤷🏻♀️👵🏼👨🏼🦳. Cacao is considered to be the “Super Food”, more specifically “Super Fruit”. Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants such as; polyphenols, flavanols and catechins. One study (2011) showed that cocoa and dark chocolate had more antioxidant activity (to be exact polyphenols and flavanols) than any other fruits tested, which included fruits naturally known for their very high antioxidant content such as; well known blueberries 🫐 (🇵🇱borówki) , or the less popular acai berries (🇵🇱jagody) 👇🏼 To be completely honest I never knew the difference until now, so I’m learning! 🤓😍💪🏼
Consuming dark chocolate may reduce heart disease risk. 🧐Research shows that it’s linked to lowering the oxidised LDL-“bad” cholesterol and raising the HDL-“good” cholesterol. In one study cocoa powder was found to significantly decrease LDL cholesterol in men. It also increased HDL and lowered total LDL for those with high cholesterol (again thanks to the huge amounts of powerful antioxidants present in cocoa-studies have shown that they work like brooms 🧹 in sweeping plaque out of the arteries). In the long term, this should cause much less cholesterol to lodge in the arteries, improving blood flow and therefore result in a lower risk of heart disease. Many controlled studies show that cocoa and dark chocolate can improve blood flow and lower blood pressure. On top of all this 🔝 dark chocolate can also reduce insulin resistance, which is yet another common risk factor for many diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
Eating dark chocolate could also improve your brain function, for example our memory-the key reason for this could be the flavanols found in cocoa, which I mentioned previously. 🧐Many studies have shown that dark chocolate is good for the brain. One study of healthy volunteers showed that eating high-flavanol cocoa for just 5 days improved blood flow to the brain. Cocoa may also significantly improve cognitive function in elderly people with mental impairment. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that it can protect the brain after a stroke (great news for me especially🤩 I didn’t know that! Now I’ve even more reasons to eat it😜🤷🏻♀️), as it shields 🛡 the nerve cells from further damage🤩
The bioactive compounds in chocolate are also great for your skin! The flavanols can protect your skin against sun damage✅, improve blood flow✅, and even increase skin hydration and density✅. One study looked at people consuming dark chocolate high in flavanols for 12 weeks and the *MED amount more than doubled 😱. *The minimal erythemal dose (MED) is the minimum amount of UVB rays required to cause redness in the skin 24 hours after sun exposure. So if you’re planning a sunny beach 🏖👙 get away, load up on the dark chocolate in the prior weeks! That just makes me think that we all probably dream about a sunny holiday now… 🦠🍹😎. Carrot juice is another natural sun screen 🥕, but I’ll probably do a separate post on carrots in the future. Separately, remember that dark chocolate contains Zinc? A mineral that plays a role in skin health also!
Natural anti-depressant 😊
Can food affect your mood? Did you ever notice how we always reach for chocolate when upset? In movies after a bad break up the characters eat chocolate or chocolate ice cream 😅😂. Well, chocolate contains serotonin, often referred to as the “happy hormone”, which acts as an anti depressant, and more importantly it’s natural! 👌🏼. Serotonin plays a major role in improving mood (so it’s a mood booster-especially for women going through menopause, when at this time serotonin levels are usually low), emotional health, proper sleep and balanced appetite. It also stimulates endorphin production, creating a feeling of happiness and pleasure. Endorphins are actually the same chemicals that are produced in the brain when we’re falling in love 🥰. (Interesting!) If all that isn’t a brilliant excuse for eating chocolate then I don’t know what is?! 😜🤷🏻♀️ I’m thinking that now especially is a good time to give dark chocolate to your family/friends as a gift 💝? Especially that today is Valentine’s Day 🥰
🧐 Did you know❓❓❓
🤩Chocolate acts as an aphrodisiac🤩, by increasing serotonin. So ladies & gentlemen if you’re preparing a dessert for your crush, hoping to “score” 🙈🙉🙊😂 definitely include chocolate! 😻🙌🏼👩❤️👨👫. ❣️ Happy Valentine’s Day ❣️
💁🏻♀️Tip of the post💁🏻♀️
I know that most of people don’t actually like dark chocolate (including me), especially if you have a really sweet tooth, dark chocolate may seem bitter🥴. You may be wondering 💭, how can it satisfy my sweet craving? Well, I have a great tip 👌🏼! I married dark chocolate with a date fruit (actually it was my dad’s idea💡). A perfect, I should say genius combo😍. In my house we call it a date&dark chocolate “sandwich” 🥪. Very easy and quick recipe: take 1 date fruit + 1 square of dark chocolate. Cut them both in half, and remove the stone from the middle of date fruit. Put one half of the chocolate square inside one half of date fruit and do the same with the other two halves. 🥰 Enjoy! The sweetness of the date fruit + the bitterness of dark chocolate make it just sweet enough and very enjoyable to eat. I personally eat 1 or 2 such “sandwiches” regularly, before bed and I sleep well 😴😋🤤, with Medjoll dates and 85% dark chocolate. And I never enjoyed eating dark chocolate before this…🙉🤦🏻♀️ My obsession with cocoa doesn’t end here🤪 We sprinkle organic cocoa powder on every homemade dessert and even on an already chocolaty ice cream. Here I’ve to recommend the “Nobó” 🇮🇪 brand 👌🏼🍨, with hand on my heart ❤️✋🏼 I’ve never seen a healthier ingredients chart on a tube of ice cream before. And it’s delicious! Who said healthy and delicious can’t go together?!
Ending this post I just want to say that chocolate (cocoa) is one of many unique foods that benefits our health on so many different levels 🤩. Physical, mental, even social… therefore it is a very powerful addition to our diets for the overall health and well-being. Be it dark chocolate squares, cocoa powder sprinkled on top of an ice cream/dessert, or hot chocolate made with real cocoa – it’s definitely worth including in the diet! 💯
Medical Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of a licensed medical doctor. By blogging I do not diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you have or suspect a mental or physical health condition, please see your healthcare provider.
Lastly I would like to recommend a Piece Of Heaven 😇🧁🍰. A home bakery one of my closest friends started during the pandemic. I’m glad this time we’re in now has some positives also. People are starting to do what they’re passionate about, starting new projects! (Here’s a perfect example). I’m taking this opportunity now, because she actually makes dark chocolate from scratch to add to her desserts🤤😋🍫. Everyone in my household tried different bakes, on several occasions and approved 👌🏼✔️, and let’s be honest that whoever knows us knows well that we’re harsh critics here, especially when it comes to food 😅😜. It’s true! Anyway, Ada makes goodies per request as well as having her own menu, something for everyone… be it from the naughty list 😈 (not so healthy, but delicious😋🤤🤷🏻♀️), as well as the FIT range for the health freaks 🤪. She calls them “guilt free”- like KETO, gluten free, you name it! You’ll find it here 😉👇🏼 Check out her Facebook page 👇🏼💕
🌻 Inspirational Quote 🌻
🦋 If people are doubting how far you can go, go so far that you can’t hear them anymore 🦋