I love chocolate! Who knew it could actually be good for you?

Humans have consumed chocolate/cacao thousands of years ago, and was revered by the Mayan and Aztecs.

Chocolate contains high levels of free redial scavengers, called :flavonoids”. The phytonutrients in cacao are similar to those found in green tea, apples, red wine, pomegranate juice and berries. Cacao (not cocoa) and some dark chocolates are ranked above tea, and a list of 25 others food sources of polyphenols. Polyphenols have been documented to provide protection from pests, infections, and UV protection from the sun. The phenols in chocolate have a special affinity that supports the cardiovascular system. Cacao has been found to modestly improve blood pressure (helps to keep it flowing smoothly) and influences the health for many other parts of the body, including the immune system and the brain.

Cacao is high in magnesium and copper. It is critical for energy production, maintaining strong bones, and supports positive moods.

The bad news is that many chocolate products are loaded with sugar, milk or even worse with artificial flavors. They usually also contain highly process vegetable oils, and maybe with little or no cacao. Organic chocolate, if available, should enable you to avoid chocolate treated with insecticides and pesticides. Reading and understanding labels is critical to ensure that you obtain healthy chocolate. Most cocoa mixes have sugar, cocoa that has alkali, dairy, different oils, corn syrup varieties, sodium caseinsate, dipotassium phosphate, mono & diglyceridis and /or cellulose gum as a short list of other ingredients.

My personal recommendation is to get 100% cacao (not cocoa) and mix it with your preferred sweetener or add to dishes that you prepare. 100% cocao is definitely not sweet. You can get 100% cacao either as a bar or powder form and is usually found in the baking section of grocery stores. It may take a little more time, but making your own hot cocoa is much healthier and you get more antioxidants than store mixes. Try adding cinnamon, allspice, or clove for a different flavor. The Mayan and Aztecs consumed a drink of unsweetened, highly spiced liquid cacao. Even later, the Inca gave this same drink to those men that were runners (bringing news from one city/settlement to another). This drink sustained them and gave great energy to complete their task.

I’d love to get your comments, drop me a line and check my Facebook to like and share also.

Yours in health, Christina.

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