I used to be a milk chocolate girl all the way but when I was told I had bacteria growing in my stomach (SIBO) causing all sorts of problems and that I should try and avoid sugar I was completely gutted. However my dietician told me that I could eat dark chocolate (ideally above 75% cocoa.) Having not been the biggest fan of dark chocolate I have to say I am totally converted. I would choose dark chocolate every time now.
5 reasons why….
- Dark chocolate helps prevent cardiovascular disease – it is naturally rich in flavonoids which are thought to lower blood pressure. It may reduce the risk of athereosclerosis by keeping the arteries flexible and preventing plaque formation in your arteries. Dark chocolate helps lower bad cholestorol (LDLs) and increase the good cholestorol (HDL). Good all round for our hearts.
- Dark chocolate contains a ton of antioxidants – antioxidants are so important as they look after cell membranes, protect DNA, fight the free radicals that may cause cancer and they also slow down those wrinkles.
- Dark chocolate enhances your mood – by tasting great! It also improves the blood flow to the brain and contains numerous chemicals that act as a stimulant and have a positive effect on our moods. Phenylethylamine encourages the brain to release endorphins and makes us feel more lively!
- Dark chocolate is rich in vitamins and minerals – magnesium (healthy bones and teeth), calcium (healthy bones), iron (protects against anaemia), riboflavin (helps metabolise fats and protein), copper (keeps immune system healthy), potassium (healthy function of all cells), phosphorous (healthy bones), sulphur (healthy joints, nails, hair and skin) and vitamin C (helps heal wounds).
- Dark chocolate has a low Glycemic Index – which means that it’s a great snack as it won’t cause big spikes in blood sugar levels. You will feel fuller and satisfied for longer as it is a slower burning energy source.
Once again remember that balance is key and eating a ton of chocolate is not going to be great for you as ultimately it is a fat! Everything in moderation! The best way to get the benefits of dark chocolate into your diet would be to use raw cacao powder. This is the purest way of eating cacao and the most nutritious way to get all these wonderful little antioxidants into your belly!
For a yummy cacao smoothie simply whizz up 1 banana, a tablespoon of cacao powder, ¼ of a courgette, and almond milk to the consistency you like.