Chocolate can be good for you, in the right dose!

Filed in: Article, depression, health-tips, stress, sugar.

In recent years some interesting scientific studies have emerged about chocolate. There is also a lot of confusion about chocolate: what type of food to eat and how much, what types to avoid, etc., so I hope to dispel some of the myths about this topic. Chocolate can be used therapeutically, but only if it is the right kind.

Chocolate is like anything else: garbage inside, garbage outside. Consumption of poor quality chocolate, such as chocolate loaded with sugar and chemicals, is not more beneficial to your body than drinking a soft drink.

Chocolate terminology

First, it is useful to understand the distinction between cocoa, cocoa and chocolate. Here are some definitions:

Cocoa: Refers to the plant, a small evergreen tree of the species Theobroma cacao, grown for its seeds, also known as cocoa beans or cocoa beans. Cocoa: Refers to the powder made from roasted, peeled and ground cocoa seeds, from which most of the fat has been removed Cocoa butter: The fatty component of the cocoa seed. Chocolate: The solid or sweet food made from a preparation of cocoa seeds (toast); If the cocoa nibs are not toasted, then it has "raw chocolate", which is also typically sweetened

Is chocolate YOUR favorite vegetable?

The amount of health benefits now associated with cocoa beans is really impressive, including the benefits for the heart and blood vessels, the brain and nervous system, the improvement of insulin sensitivity and possibly the decrease of the speed at which it ages. The benefits of cocoa are related to compounds that occur naturally in beans, such as epicatechin and resveratrol, both powerful antioxidants.

It is believed that epicatechin helps protect nerve cells from damage. Norman Hollenberg, a professor of medicine at Harvard who has spent years studying the Kuna of Panama who consume up to 40 cups of cocoa per week, believes that epicatechin is so important that it should be considered a vitamin. The Kuna have less than 10 percent risk of stroke, heart failure, cancer and diabetes, which are the most prevalent diseases that wreak havoc in the Western world.

In addition to the epicatechin, cocoa also has a high content of resveratrol, a potent antioxidant found in red wine, known for its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier to help protect your nervous system.

A 2012 meta-analysis found that eating chocolate could reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by 37 percent and your risk of stroke by 29 percent. Another meta-analysis from 2012, in the United Kingdom1, found that cocoa / chocolate decreased insulin resistance, reduced blood pressure, increased blood vessel elasticity, and slightly reduced LDL.
Dr. Golomb explains how the health benefits of cocoa require a relatively narrow range of doses. There is a "curve of Goldilocks": too little or too much means that there is no significant benefit.

The positive health benefits suggested by science are conferred by the cocoa bean:

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Anti-inflammatory Anti-diabetic and anti-obesity Neuroprotective Delays the progression of periodontitis Anti-carcinogenic Improves the gastrointestinal flora Improves resistance to exercise Antithrombotic Cardioprotective reduces stress hormones Can help extend life Decreases the risk of Alzheimer's Improves function Hepatic Reduces the symptoms of glaucoma and cataracts Protects against preeclampsia in pregnant women

What to look for when selecting chocolate

The closer your cocoa is from its raw natural state, the greater its nutritional value. Ideally, your chocolate or cocoa should be consumed raw (cocoa). By selecting chocolate, you can optimize your nutritional punch by looking for a higher cocoa content and less sugar. In general, the darker the chocolate, the higher the cocoa. However, cocoa is quite bitter and the higher the percentage of cocoa, the more bitter it is. Flavanols are what make chocolate bitter, so manufacturers often eliminate them. But, those flavanols are responsible for many of the health benefits of chocolate.

To counteract the bitterness, most of the chocolate is sweetened, so it is about balancing the nutritional benefit with palatability. Although raw cocoa is the most nutritious form, most health studies to date involve the consumption of cocoa or chocolate, not raw cocoa. But the results are still significantly positive. This fact suggests that a good part of the nutritional benefit of chocolate is retained after processing.

So, your goal is to find a chocolate that is processed as little as possible, but that is pleasing to the palate. You do not want to eliminate too many health benefits by eating a product that contains a lot of sugar and chemicals. Choose chocolate with a cocoa / cocoa percentage of approximately 70 or more. If you can tolerate the taste of raw cocoa, then that is the best option. Chocolate milk is not a good choice because it contains pasteurized milk, which is not good for you, and large amounts of sugar. White chocolate also has a high sugar content and does not contain any of the phytonutrients, so it is not a good choice either. Black chocolate is your best choice.

Ingredients to keep clear

Read your labels carefully and evaluate each product for the following:

Type of sweetener: Not only should you choose chocolate with low sugar content, but you should also look at what form of sugar it contains. Honey is sometimes used to sweeten raw chocolate products, which is a good option (in moderation). If you can find chocolate sweetened with stevia or have it (a natural sweetener derived from the Chinese Monk fruit), it would be preferable to sugar cane, fructose or corn syrup with high fructose content. Strictly avoid any product that contains artificial sweeteners. Genetically engineered cocoa beans: Select chocolate products that are certified organic so you can be sure they are not genetically engineered (GE). Most of today's chocolate (even dark chocolate) is GE, unfortunately. Also opt for fair trade products. Type of fat: The fat in chocolate, provided it's the right kind, is a good thing. It slows down the absorption of sugar, decreasing the peak of insulin. Ideally, the type of fat in your chocolate bar should be what the natural plant contains: cocoa butter. According to Dr. Golomb, the primary fatty acid in cocoa butter is stearic acid, which is the only saturated fat that favorably affects HDL, without adversely affecting LDL.

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Coconut oil It would be the next best fat in chocolate. Be sure to avoid soybean oil (and any other form of soy) and other vegetable oils and trans fats.

How much chocolate should you eat and how often?

In general, it seems preferable to consume small amounts of chocolate at more frequent intervals, such as the beginning of the divided dose of the supplements, to ensure a constant flow of nutrients into the bloodstream. According to Dr. Golomb, studies show that people who eat chocolate more than five times a week have a lower body mass index.

That said, if you eat chocolate 20 times a day, you will have a problem due to the large amount you consume. Daily consumption in divided doses (two to three times per day) is probably beneficial, as long as you do not exaggerate in quantity and while you are eating high quality chocolate.

According to Ori Hofmekler, to be able to fully benefit from chocolate, he would have to consume between 3.5 and 7 ounces per day. He affirms:
"The problem is that even the healthiest dark chocolate brands today are not designed for such a large consumption." Yes, a moderate serving of three to four ounces of dark chocolate per day may be enough to affect the sugar level in the blood and the waist ".

Avocado Chocolate Mousse Recipe

The ingredients
2 medium ripe avocados
1/3 cup of raw cocoa powder, or more to taste
5 fresh dates, minced and chopped.
1/4 cup of coconut milk, walnut milk or filtered water
1 spoonful of natural vanilla extract or pure vanilla powder
A pinch of unrefined sea salt.

Optional: Dry coconut, grated black chocolate or berries to serve.

1. Soak the dates in milk or water for 10-30 minutes to soften. In a blender, add the pulp of avocado, dates, milk, vanilla and salt and cocoa powder. Mix until smooth. You may need a little more liquid to make mixing easier and scrape the sides of the jar a few times.
2. Adjust the ingredients to taste, adding more cocoa powder if needed. Serve and decorate with your choice of ingredients.

This recipe comes from the Food Matters recipe book


Tags: depression, Health Tips, stress, sugar

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