Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chocolate is good for you? Really?

Its fair to say that even if we are trying to stay healthy, there are always going to be occasions when we need to indulge.  My indulgence would be a good movie, with a glass of red wine (my favourite being Bonterra, an organic Cab Sauv from California) and a few squares of my emergency chocolate.  Its hidden in my freezer, just in case, but unfortunately my 6  year old has acquired a taste for it so the stash is getting smaller (note to self: must find a new hiding spot!)

I am still a fan of Green + Blacks Organic Dark Chocolate Mint, but have now discovered Divine Dark Chocolate, which is 94% fair trade, so you feel doubly good eating it!  While indulging yourself, bear in mind you are also giving your body some essential benefits:

Dark Chocolate (over 60% cocoa, but I prefer a min. of 70%):

  • it contains flavonoids, which act as antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from aging caused by free radicals, which can cause damage that leads to heart disease.
  • after sex and wine, chocolate is a great stress-reducer.  I was reading in this month's issue of Fitness Rx - that a 2 week study was undertaken in Switzerland, where subjects where given 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate daily and a significant reduction levels of the hormone cortisol, amongst metobolites.
  • Dark chocolate has also been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) by up to 10 percent.
  • not all fat in chocolate is bad fat:  some of the fats in chocolate do not impact your cholesterol. The fats in chocolate are 1/3 oleic acid, 1/3 stearic acid and 1/3 palmitic acid:

    • Oleic Acid is a healthy monounsaturated fat that is also found in olive oil.
    • Stearic Acid is a saturated fat but one which research is shows has a neutral effect on cholesterol.
    • Palmitic Acid is also a saturated fat, one which raises cholesterol and heart disease risk.    

That means only 1/3 of the fat in dark chocolate is bad for you.
So enjoy your occasional splurge into the chocolate zone, but don't go crazy!!!!

(photos courtesy of

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