Health Benefits of Chocolate

Awesome news for Valentines Day….. chocolate is not only healthy for you, but it can also be included on a low carb Paleo and Ketogenic diet.

I want to share some of the amazing benefits of chocolate. I am a big, huge actually, chocolate fan so I am always looking for ways to include it in my diet, without the added sugar or milk that take away the health benefits. Interestingly the Latin name for chocolate “Theobrome Cacao” means, “Food of the Gods”.  If the name alone isn’t enough to make chocolate sound good for you, keep reading.

More Reasons to Eat Chocolate (in moderation of course)

Dark Chocolate can improve mood and enhance cognitive function
There are natural substances in chocolate that increase the release of your ‘feel good” neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins without causing an addiction like sugar does.

Dark Chocolate has anti-aging properties and can aid in healthy blood flow
Chocolate increases nitric oxide which helps with heightened oxygen transfer around your body. Chocolate can also help with increasing energy by creating more mitochondria.

Dark chocolate can decrease systemic inflammation
By helping improve insulin sensitivity of the cells and glucose uptake through its effect on vascular health. Being so high in polyphenol antioxidants, chocolate can lower oxidized LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good guys).

Chocolate is a prebiotic
Meaning it is food for our healthy gut bacteria. Some of the polyphenols in chocolate need to be broken down by our gut microbiota before they can be absorbed and used by our body. This chocolate is not only good for us but its also good for our gut bacteria.

I’m talking about dark chocolate here, ideally 80% or more.  Chocolate that comes with a lot of sugar or milk has all the health benefits stripped away.  The milk protein casein bonds to the polyphenols so they never become available to your body.  And we already know sugar depletes nutrients.

Additional TIPS for Serious Chocolate Eaters

  • Try sucking on one square at a time. No joke, it will absolutely fill you with flavor and you won’t want as much.
  • Keep your carbs low. Aim for 85% chocolate, Paleo dark chocolate, and stevia-sweetened dark chocolate (again, 85% or higher). In one serving of dark chocolate, about 1/3 bar, there are around 12-15 grams of carbs (fewer when counting ‘net carbs’). The same size serving of 70% can have almost twice as many carbs.
  • Stay away from milk chocolate. It has way more sugar then any of us need, and even more sugar from the dairy. In addition, many people, about 65% of us, have a food sensitivity to the lactose or the casein in dairy.
  • Organic is best. Need I say this? And aim for high quality as one of the biggest downsides to chocolate is that it is prone to mold

It’s so easy to make your own chocolate at home. I’ve got loads of chocolaty deliciousness in my Recipe File. Try my Chocolate Fat Bombs or create your own favorite flavor Fat Bomb using my Fat Bomb Recipe Template.

Happy Eating!