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.
So enjoy your occasional splurge into the chocolate zone, but don't go crazy!!!!
(photos courtesy of lookinggood123.com)