Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate; many of us never seem to get enough! On average, Americans consume nearly 20 pounds of chocolate per year! Now that is some serious sweet tooth… and for good reason! Chocolate offers an array of valuable nutrients that effect everything from mood to energy, immunity and even your heart – that is, if you are consuming the right type.
For me, there’s nothing better than eating foods that I love, especially when they are beneficial to my health.
The Key to Your Heart
A recently published, decade-long study monitoring over 200,000 subjects (both male & female) showed the correlation between chocolate consumption and a decreased incidence of cardiovascular disease. It turns out that due to the high antioxidant and iron content in chocolate, blood platelets are less likely to clot and cause a stroke. This allows for better blood circulation to the heart, as well as the brain.
Although this is great news for chocolate lovers, it is important to note that all chocolate is not created equal.
The more pure and dark the chocolate is, the more antioxidant rich the chocolate will be. So, if you are looking to reap these benefits, reaching for the 70%+ dark chocolate bar will be your best bet. Dark chocolate also has less added sugars and preservatives.
Whether you consume it as a late night treat, a smoothie enhancer or in your favorite baked goods, chocolate may be supplying you with a lot more than you think. Not only does chocolate taste delicious, but it also has the ability to improve mood and cognitive function. It turns out that there is a scientific reason behind why eating chocolate feels so good; it packs in a rich and calming mineral called magnesium.
Not only is magnesium key in supporting the nervous system, but it is also essential in promoting higher levels of serotonin, reducing headaches and easing levels of irritability, anxiety and depression.
So ladies, maybe that little nibble of dark chocolate during that time of the month isn’t so bad after all?
Energizing & Revitalizing
Studies have recently shown that chocolate is really more than a treat to satisfy your sweet tooth. The cacao seed, from which chocolate is derived, is technically a superfood, with a higher antioxidant content than most “super fruits”! These antioxidants are key in preventing disease and building a strong immune system.
Organic Opulence’s Pick
Like anything, purity is key – especially when consuming chocolate. The fewer additives, filler oils, soy byproducts and added sugar, the better! This way you will be reaping all the benefits authentic chocolate has to offer.
When choosing a dark chocolate, I always like to go for a brand that is not only certified Organic, but is also certified Fair Trade. Ensuring that my chocolate contains the Fair Trade logo allows me to feel comfortable knowing that I am supporting businesses that produce chocolate in an ethical fashion that is not detrimental to the environment, nor to its farmers and producers.
Some of my favorites, that are easy to find in stores, include Theo Chocolate and Alter Eco. When browsing the aisle, there are plenty of brands & flavors to choose from, so you won’t run out of options!
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