Awesome Chocolate!

by Steven Carney on June 7, 2012

If you’re a chocolate lover, you’re not alone! Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, offers complex flavors and health benefits. Bittersweet chocolate with 70% cocoa is a better choice compared to milk chocolate, which has fewer benefits. Before I list some of the health benefits for dark chocolate, here is some cool history and how chocolate is made:

Cocoa and chocolate come from the cacao bean, which is a seed pod. The pods are quite large, up to 12″ long. Once mature, the pods are harvested and fermented, helping the beans to lose some of their bitterness. The beans are roasted and ground into a thick paste (called liquor), which is further processed into cocoa powder and cocoa butter, used to make chocolate.

Cocoa has been around for thousands of years, since Aztec and Mayan times, when they used the seeds as special offerings and a drink (with water and spices) in sacred ceremonies.

Health Benefits

Cocoa’s health benefits have been studied for years. Cocoa and dark chocolate have minerals, antioxidants (flavonoids/polyphenols) along with some vitamins and protein!

Dark chocolate can be helpful for:

  • Heart health/lower blood pressure
  • Improved blood flow
  • Lower oxidized LDL cholesterol/atherosclerosis
  • Lower inflammation
  • Mood elevation
  • Improving cognition/alertness

Overall, chocolate has some benefits like green tea and blueberries, but moderation is a key. Aim for 1 or 2 small pieces max daily. Eating half a bar (or more) is overkill and will add extra calories from sugar and fat, negating the benefits and adding to weight gain.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, drop me a line! Use the e-mail social icon in the upper right. I usually respond in less than 24 hours! Happy eating!

Helpful Links:

Another new study for chocolate and health:

A new video about dark chocolate/cardio health:

© 2012 by Steve Carney/End Sickness Now

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