Is chocolate good for you?
There is much promotion about chocolate being good for you. We hear that it is high in antioxidants and has positive health benefits. Most of this promotion is done by chocolate companies.
Chocolate contains naturally occurring antioxidants called flavonoids which act not only as antioxidants, but as polyphenols that help keep your blood flowing freely to decrease your risk of heart attack and stroke, and reduce your blood pressure. They also help protect your skin from UV damage from the sun. Recent studies on mice showed that cacao reduced inflammation.
So, could eating chocolate help us avoid some of the effects of diseases?
It’s not that as simple. If you want to reap the benefits of chocolate, you need to be discerning.
Dairy milk chocolate is loaded with sugar and won’t have enough cacao to do you any good.
Many brands replace pure cocoa butter with vegetable oil or palm oil, (not only bad for us but also for the animals of the forests where palm oil is harvested.) In commercial chocolate, the cacao has been heat processed, destroying the antioxidants.
The only chocolate that is really good for you is raw cacao. This may taste a little different to regular cocoa, so you may have to make allowances for that. The best way to get a healthy chocolate treat is to make your own. Here’s a good recipe:
Raw Cacao Balls
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup whole raw almonds
1/2 cup pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons raw cacao
1 tsp natural vanilla essence
1 cup pitted dates
In a food processor, process nuts, then add all other ingredients except for dates.
Add dates until the mixture becomes sticky enough to form balls.
You can start with 5 or 6 dates, process and then add them one by one testing the
mixture, then pull some out to see if they form balls. If not, add another until they do.