My health goal this week is to eat dark chocolate every day!
When chocolate is more often associated with indulgence why would I do this?
Firstly it happens to be National Chocolate Week and I don’t need much encouragement or excuse to indulge in the wonderful stuff!
Secondly chocolate really is seriously good for heart health and it massively lifts your mood.
Just to be absolutely clear, I’m not talking about that horrible waxy over sweetened milk chocolate that truckers supposedly eat, I’m talking about good quality 70% cocoa solids or more! And I’m not talking about eating it in large quantities, I’m talking about 25g to 50g a day.
So how does chocolate improve your heart health?
Well, its all to do with Flavonoids in cocoa which have been shown to reduced levels of ”bad” cholesterol (LDL) and raised levels of ”good” cholesterol, potentially lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease. How good is that!
What is more these flavonoids have vasodilatory, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties which promote the dilation and flexibility of blood vessels whilst preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels – both common causes of artery clogging.
And then there is that instant feelgood factor to be had through eating chocolate, it really can help to improve your mood, making you feel calmer and more content. There are three mechanisms involved here.
1. Flavonoids in dark chocolate stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that create that, ‘feel good factor!’
2. Dark chocolate contains serotonin another neurotransmitter which acts as an antidepressant.
3. Another neurotransmitter released by chocolate is phenylethylamine, so called “chocolate amphetamine” which leads to feelings of excitement and alertness. It works like amphetamines to increase mood and decrease depression, but without the side effects, without being addictive and what is more its legal!
So what are you waiting for, don’t deny yourself, get out there and indulge in some seriously good chocolate!
My mouth meltingly favourite chocolate at the moment is Moser Roth 85% cocoa solids from Aldi, it’s really delicious and seriously low in sugar at Keto friendly levels. (more on Keto diets in future posts)