Sticking up for chocolate

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I’m so tired of hearing people say they are “cheating”, or that it will make them “fat” or insinuating that it is “junk food” when I offer them a piece of dark chocolate. I’m not talking grocery store candy bars made out of corn syrup or highly processed milk chocolate here. I’m talking about an ounce or two of dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa (75-99% is the best, raw cacao nibs even better).

Dark chocolate compared to milk chocolate has substantially less sugar and no milk so what you are eating is actually really healthy for you. The only excuse I accept when I get a refusal is that they just don’t like the flavor. In that case, fair enough. Life is too short to not enjoy what you are eating. But for the rest who love the taste but think they are being “overindulgent” here is some food for thought…..

Dark chocolate health bennies:

  • Increases longevity – the Guinness book of world records longest living person (who died at age 122) ate 2 lbs of chocolate a week.
  • Improves your mood/reduces stress/increases energy/ is a natural aphrodisiac – by raising serotonin levels in your brain.
  • High in antioxidants – has one of the highest levels of any other food in the world.
  • High in minerals – magnesium, iron, fiber, copper, chromium, zinc & phosphorus.
  • Good for your heart – lowers bad cholesterol & increases good cholesterol

The best way to receive 100% of these benefits is to eat raw cacao. Cacao nibs are an excellent way to do this. You can add them to smoothies, sprinkle them on yogurt and snack on them strait. Other than that, my go to is an ounce a day of artisan dark chocolate in the 70-82% cocoa range. These are a few of my favorites: Scharffen Berger, TCHOBlanxart & Dandelion.

Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.