Chocolate: A friend or an enemy?

Is chocolate your friend or foe?

I’m a firm believer in eating and enjoying your favorite foods, without feeling guilty afterwards. That’s why I’ve decided to talk to you about the benefits of chocolate and even some ways that chocolate can be healthy! 

Did you know?

Chocolate comes from Cacao, which is a tree. That makes it a plant… So chocolate is well um…basically salad. HAHA. Well not quite a salad but yesterday (July 7th) was International Chocolate Day so grab a piece of chocolate, put your reading glasses on and get ready to view chocolate differently than ever before!

Is it really ‘’bad’’? 

I know what you’re thinking… OMG, another designated day for something I can’t eat! WRONG & let me tell you why!! If I had to guess you are a lot like me and at some point in your life have felt guilty for something you ate…perhaps it was eating chocolate. I’ll admit there was a time in my life when I did feel guilty for enjoying the foods I loved. Not anymore!! After stepping away from the competition arena to focus on building my family and business, I began to appreciate and partake in all the yummy foods (in moderation of course). Chocolate has always been one of my favorites…followed by ice cream…chocolate ice cream that is. 

That’s why instead of saying that you can’t eat chocolate, instead we are going to talk about ways you can eat chocolate in healthy amounts and even some of the benefits of chocolate!

Here’s a quick origin lesson on chocolate in case you didn’t know:

  • Chocolate comes from the seed of the cacao tree
  • Chocolate has been cultivated for several thousand years
  • Typically grown in Mexico, Central America and Northern South America 
  • Cacao seeds have a bitter taste that must be fermented, dried, cleaned, and roasted into the taste we all enjoy 

So let’s cut to the chase here… 

The 6 benefits of eating chocolate (just not the whole box).

  • Food elimination or extremely restrictive diets could lead to binge eating and overindulgence
  • Good source of antioxidants (gram for gram dark chocolate contains higher concentrations of antioxidants than apples)
  • Caffeine which could help you stay more alert, improve cognitive function and keep you feeling energized! Idk about you but there’s a point in time each and every week where I need a pick-me-up
  • Mood-booster (85% cacao contains tryptophan which is a precursor of serotonin – a neurotransmitter that when increased makes us feel happy) 
  • Stress reducer (some studies suggest that daily intake of dark chocolate can reduce the impact of stress on the body)
  • May improve Blood Flow and Lower Cholesterol (many studies suggest that dark chocolate may have positive effects on blood flow and lower cholesterol levels) 

The Bottom Line: 

When chocolate is consumed in moderation there are many positive benefits. Reach for the darker stuff, the darker the chocolate the less milk and sugar there is and more actual cacao it contains. Below is one of my favorite no-bake snacks to make!

Healthy Dark Chocolate Trail Mix

Prep Time: 5 mins [Calories- 220, Fat- 13g, Carbohydrates- 19g, Protein- 3g]

Combine dried fruit and berries, morsels, nuts and seeds in a bowl. Makes about 6 cups. 

Ingredients:

2 cups of mixed/chopped dried fruit or berries (apricots, apples, cherries, cranberries, blueberries)

1 ⅔ cups Dark Chocolate Morsels 

1 ½ cups mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, pistachios)

½ cup sunflower seeds  

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