Food Focus: Chocolate
The thought of it can bring up certain emotions. Chocolate has been associated with love for generations. Almost everyone I know loves chocolate! Many of us have even been known to crave the stuff. But did you know that chocolate has many amazing health benefits?
- Cacao is high in iron, calcium, potassium, vitamins A, B, C & D and are known to provide protection against some common chronic ailments such as heart disease, blood pressure and cancer.
- Chocolate comes in many varieties: white, dark, creamy, bitter or sweet. Chocolate is a food which originates from the seed of the cacao tree, which is quite bitter in its natural form.
- Cacao was used by ancient civilizations, such as the Mayans and Aztecs, to create a chocolate drink which they believed was a divine food. Other parts of the cacao plant were also used for medicinal purposes. Its’ flowers were used to treat fatigue and a cacao paste was used to treat poor appetite.
- Chocolate increases the amount of serotonin in the body, which can explain the feelings of pleasure and cravings associated with it.
Although chocolate has a bad reputation, it is due largely to modern commercial preparation process and manufacturing, which often adds a tremendous amount of fat and sugar, as well as preservatives to the chocolate.
According to David Wolfe, Cacao (Raw Chocolate) is one of the top 10 Superfoods and is “the highest antioxidant food on the planet, the #1 source of magnesium, iron, chromium and is also extremely high in PEA, theobromine (cardiovascular support), and anandamide (“bliss chemical”). Raw Chocolate balances brain chemistry, builds strong bones, is a natural aphrodisiac, elevates your mood and energy.” PEA is short for Phenylethylamine HCl, which has been called the “love drug” since it is known to stimulate the transmission of both dopamine and norepinephrine.
Today, there are sources of organic and raw chocolate available. A small amount of chocolate, with a high cacao content can be an incredible part of your life – in moderation of course! Remember that nutritional success is bio-individual. Everyone has different requirements for a healthy, balanced diet.