Healthy Chocolate

I make no secret of my so-called “love affair” with chocolate.  I am so head-over-heels in love with chocolate.  *swoons*  However, in an effort to finally get back into tip-top shape, I’ve decided to turn around and walk away from this affair.  I would have been “sober” for four weeks now had it not been for Father’s Day.  If you would scroll a few posts down, you’ll perfectly understand what I mean.  Outback’s Chocolate-Chocolate Tower worked its charm on me and proved to be irresistable.  Too darned irresistable, in fact.  What can I say?  I was caught in a weak moment. :P  So much for my chocolate boycott. 

During a trip to the grocery last Tuesday, however, I caught sight of the dark chocolates at the candy aisle.  Dark chocolates of different brands seemed to be having a contest of which had the most cocoa/cacao content.  I remembered the trip my Mom and I made to a natural doctor last February.  Dr. Galloway told us that chocolate isn’t bad at all.  What we should consume though, are the dark ones with high cocoa (cacao) content.  She even showed us the bar of chocolate she carried with her in her bag, which, if I’m not mistaken, has 70% cacao.  In addition to that, one also has to learn to be satisfied with just a little helping…just a teeny weeny block or square of chocolate.  With these in mind, I grabbed this…

I preferred the package with individually wrapped chocolate squares than a single huge block of chocolate, as the latter might be a little too hard to resist.  It is for this reason that I chose Hershey’s even if the other chocolate brands had upto more than 70% cacao content.

So what’s with the fuss over cacao content and dark chocolate?  I won’t even attempt to explain this in my own words.  Here’s the text on the the Hershey’s packaging:

Plant foods like berries, teas and even red wine contain many types of natural antioxidants.  Cocoa beans, the seeds of the fruit of the cocoa tree, are one of the most concentrated known sources of flavanol antioxidants.

These are the other potential health benefits of dark chocolate:

  • May reduce blood pressure in people who are hypertensive
  • May improve insulin sensitivity in healthy adults
  • May improve endothelial function, which affects blood flow in the heart.
  • May decrease LDL cholesterol levels
  • Contains potent antioxidants which protect against cell damage
  • May increase blood flow to the skin and brain
  • Chocolate milk may help you recover from exercise better than a sports drink

(Source:  Health by Chocolate by Tara Gidus, MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N )

What do you think?  Remember, the key is moderation.  Believe it or not, one square is good enough for me. ;) *pats self on the back* I’m just happy to be eating chocolate again. 

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