Is chocolate healthy?
- Could it lower your blood pressure?
Flavanols found in cacao beans aid production of nitric oxide, which stimulates blood vessels to dilate.
- Might it help you stay turned on, tuned in and sharp?
A nice mug of cacoa might also help an ageing brain, a recent study in the journal Hypertension found. Elderly participants who received high flavonol chocolate drinks had improved mental performance after eight weeks.
- Will it improve your skin?
Interestingly dark chocolate have a relatively low glycemic index, having a more favorable effect on blood sugar and insulin – and, potentially, your skin
- Possible protection against heart attacks and strokes?
Chocolate is high in saturated fat, but the particular type – stearic acid – predominant in cacao butter does not raise cholesterol like other saturates. Research at Cambridge University found that people consuming the most chocolate had a 37% lower risk of heart disease and a 29% lower risk of stroke than those who consumed less chocolate.
- How about easing your PMS?
“Chocolate contains magnesium, which can help alleviate cramps and increase energy,” says clinical therapist Elisabeth Morray, a consultant for Kotex As usual, however, it’s important not to overindulge. “The best way to take advantage of its benefits is to limit yourself to a small amount – a couple of pieces,” says Elisabeth.
- What about protecting you from cancer?
Spanish researchers studying rodents fed a diet containing 12% cocoa, found that it protected against the development of colon cancer.
To maximise the potential cancer-protective effect, try an Isadelight Plus of which is antioxidant-rich and contains green tea.
- Can it help reduce your chronic fatigue?
A small study of fatigue patients carried out at Hull York Medical School, found that those given 45g of 85% cacoa chocolate daily reported less fatigue, anxiety and depression than those given placebo chocolate with low antioxidants.
- In moderation how it can help you reduce body fat?
Strangely (and wonderfully), people who eat chocolate on a regular basis are, on average, actually thinner than those who don’t, an American study reported earlier this year. Its not about occasional big chocolate binges. It’s all about moderation!
- Will it put you in the mood for a bit of this and that?????
An intriguing Italian study linked higher chocolate consumption with more action in the bedroom.
Phenylalanine is an amino acid that is involved in making dopamine, the same chemical that is released when we are in love. Try it !
What is cacao ? (pronounced “ca-kow”)
- It can be bought as a powder, nib or butter from health food stores or supermarkets.
- It has a slightly bitter flavour rather than the sickly sweet flavour most of our commercially produced chocolates
- Cacao helps to stimulate digestion by activating the bitter taste buds on our tongue. This in turn sends a message to our brain and pancreas to stimulate the stomach juices, letting it know that food is on its way down.
- Usually a raw-cacao chocolate will contain a sweetener such as agave or coconut palm sugar.
- No added preservatives or other nasties that are in milk chocolate ie . skim-milk solids, sugars, caramels, artificial colours and flavours.
- the most nutritionally complex food on the planet
- contains a whopping 621 antioxidants, whereas blueberries contain just 32..
- high fibre content will also help to achieve good digestive health.
- For diabetics, it’s a viable alternative to sugar
How to use cacao
- 1. Hot mocha: A hot mocha will soon become the new and improved version of your morning coffee – and a hit of super nutrients. Combine one teaspoon of raw cacao powder, one shot of espresso, warm oat milk and coconut sugar (optional). 2. Nightcap: Make a hot mocha (above) without the espresso, and for an extra hit of tryptophan, which helps sleep, add one teaspoon of nut butter. 3. Smoothies: Add a teaspoon of cacao powder or nibs to your smoothie for an antioxidant hit. 4. Face mask: Mix cacao with some coconut water and brush all over your face and neck for soft, firm skin.