Oct 25th, 2013
Author: Michael Marsh
Michael Marsh here, I’m the creator of the New Body New Life Program. That’s me over there to the right at age 50. I’ve been a health and self improvement author for seven years now. However, I just created a new Facebook page, if you like honest and life changing information, please give it a like.
Before I discuss if chocolate is good for you, I just want to disclose that I have a “thing” for chocolate and eat it almost every day, so I may be a little biased in my opinion.
With that being said, there’s a few things to know in advance, so you don’t sabotage your weight loss progress.
Here’s the straight skinny: [Yes, horrible pun I know.]
It’s not chocolate that’s good for you, it’s cocoa.
Cocoa is full of beneficial antioxidants [the molecules that fight free radicals]. Cocoa has been shown to lower blood pressure, boost mood, lower cholesterol, improve insulin resistance and help regulate blood sugar.
Cocoa owes its benefits to flavonoids, the antioxidants found in plants. The flavanols in cocoa work to thin your blood and relax blood vessels, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.
Plus, cocoa contains other phytochemical compounds that boost your levels of serotonin and endorphins, which boost mood. In fact, several studies have shown that cocoa may actually be used to treat anxiety!
What’s not to like about that giant Hershey’s bar? The problem is most “off the shelf” chocolate is very altered. Real, natural cocoa is somewhat bitter. In an attempt to make this “treat” more appealing, many food manufactures add sugar and unhealthy fats.
Unfortunately, this processing removes a lot of the vitamins and nutrients of the original cocoa, while adding fat storing calories. So here’s a few tips to get the diet benefits of cocoa, without the diet wrecking effects of the wrong chocolate:
Use dark chocolate. If you eat hard chocolate (vs cocoa powder) you only get the free radical fighting benefits with dark chocolate. The proteins in sweeter milk chocolate bind with the antioxidants and reduce their effectiveness.
In the homemade “trail mix” I eat every day, I use dark chocolate baking chips. If you want the most benefits, eat the darkest chocolate you can. Look for chocolate that is 70% or more cocoa and is labeled as pure or unprocessed.
Consider using cocoa powder. Cocoa powder is the least processed form of cocoa available [with the healthiest being non-alkalized]. While not sweet, it still tastes good when you sprinkle it on foods you’re going to add some other sweetener to. For example, I put it on oatmeal, and then add cinnamon and raw organic honey.
If you want to have your cake and eat it to [what can I say, I’m on a roll today :] Click Here to pick up a copy of the Healing Gourmets Guilt Free Desserts.
Author and friend Kelley Herring has put together some amazing fat burning recipes that remove the unhealthy highly processed flours, gluten, and artificial sweeteners – while adding in healthy natural ingredients – like cocoa.
With Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas coming up, this would be a great way to get a jump on looking and feeling your best for New Year’s – instead of starting out from a worse place than you are now.
To your health and success, and may God bless,
P.S. I tell my coaching clients all the time, if there’s a “trick” to losing weight, it’s making healthier choices – that don’t make life suck in the process.
So if you do want to get healthier, but don’t want to totally give up treats like brownies, cheesecake, ice cream, or truffles, Kelley’s Guilt Free Desserts is an excellent resource.
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