If you want your sweet tooth fix while staying healthy, the best way to go is dark chocolate. Avoid the sugar stupor and go for something real, and by that we mean chocolate that’s on the high-end of the cocoa radar.
Most women have a love-hate relationship with chocolate. We crave it to the point that we’re salivating in the supermarket aisle or over indulging with mouthfuls of the stuff (until we stop, guilt-ridden and slightly appaulled).
But it doesn’t have to be this way. That's because it's scientifically proven that chocolate is totally good for you! Crunching down on the choc will help boost your immunity, protect your heart, enhance your sex life and have you smiling from ear to ear.
P.S. As with anything you eat, don't go overboard. Chocolate is good for you - if eaten in moderation.
1. It's an excellent all-round superfood
If you’re looking for a healthy treat to nibble on, go for chocolate with a rich cocoa content for the ultimate immune-booster. The more cocoa power, the higher the antioxidant value and the less sugars. Superstores are steadily making chocolate with 100% raw cocoa available and sales are on the up!
Amelia says, “The goodness of chocolate lies in the cocoa and cocoa butter so the 'healthier' chocolate to consume is chocolate with a higher cocoa percentage. This means less sugar, more cocoa butter (a natural occurring vegetable fat) and more cocoa solids.”
If you’re looking for the most beneficial chocolate, go for dark choccie with at least 70% cocoa (and limit yourself to a few good chunks).
2. It's good for your heart and brain
Studies have shown that crunching down a bar of dark chocolate two to three times a week is good for the heart and brain. Hurrah.
“Another key antioxidant abundant in cocoa are heart-healthy Flavanols. Known for their excellent anti-oxidant properties and blood-thinning qualities, research shows that flavanols have 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,” says Nikki.
The way to a happier heart? Chocolate. No wonder we gorge it post break-up.
3. It's energy-boosting
Feeling fatigued? Lethargic? Or lacking energy? Then reach for the chocolate.
“Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine which gives you energy by stimulating the brain and central nervous system,” says Amelia.
4. It makes you smile
Apart from the fact that chocolate is a girl’s best friend we’re even more obsessed now that we know it’s a legitimate feel-good treat - this stuff is proven to make you feel better.
Amelia says, “Chocolate can give you the feel good factor as it contains phenylethylamine (PEA), N-oleoylethanolamine and N-linoleylethanolamine, which are similar to the brain's bliss factor chemical.”
5. It helps you lose body fat
We're pinching ourselves here. Can this be true? Chocolate induced weight loss? Apparently so.
Nikki says, “From a psychological standpoint, denying yourself of anything is counter productive to your goals. ‘Don’t eat the cake....don’t eat the cake…eat the cake!” – sound familiar?
"A massive part of my work with clients as a nutritionist and food coach is making absolutely sure that their ‘nutritional lifestyles’ fit perfectly with foods they love and want to continue enjoying! For ever! Only when all these components are addressed will someone continue to undertake nutritional balance - for life.”
6. It helps fight dreaded PMS
Do you suffer from bloating? Irritability? Or cramps? Tackle the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and say goodbye to PMS-induced food cravings - with a little help from you know what - chocolate!
“Cocoa contains magnesium, which is known to ease symptoms of PMS,” says Nikki.
A woman's need for magnesium increases during her menstrual period so with a perfect hit of choc you'll be keeping those Mg levels on point.
7. It's chock-full of vitamins and minerals
There's a new kind of multi-vit in town. Yup, your two squares of chocolate.
“Cocoa is rich in a number of minerals, including magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese. Cocoa is also rich in a essential vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, E and pantothenic acid – all vital for optimum health.”
8. It keeps your skin plump and beautiful
Add a bar of chocolate to our beauty arsenal? Don’t mind if we do.
“Global medical research on chocolate has proven that chocolate has significant antioxidant properties which support the anti-aging process,” says Amelia.
Nikki adds, “Cocoa and chocolate contain a large amount of ‘flavonoids’. These antioxidants are intimately involved in the prevention of cellular damage -- the common pathway for cancer, aging, and a variety of diseases.”
9. It increases your libido
Another reason to get stocking up on the dark chocolate? It can improve your sex life. Dark chocolate especially, is a super-sexy superfood containing a compound that releases the same endorphins that are triggered by sex (and it’s known to increase chemistry too).
“Cocoa contains high levels of phenylethylamine. High levels of this neurotransmitter help promote feelings of attraction, excitement, and giddiness. Phenylethylamine works by stimulating the brain's pleasure centers.”
Now we know why men are always buying us chocolate come Valentine's Day!
10. It's the perfect soul food.
Devouring something as decadent as chocolate is incredibly satisfying. Us girls need a cocoa kick once and a while in order to function - plain and simple.
Amelia agrees, “Small amounts of good quality chocolate have to be good for the soul!”
What more persuasion do you need? Chocolate is our all time favourite superfood.
Are you reconsidering the healthful powers of our chocolate friend? Tweet us @wewomenCA