My greatest weakness is chocolate. I have forever been in love with it! My first love was the Hershey’s chocolate bar. (Followed in my Mom’s footsteps on that one.) My second love was my Grandmother’s German Chocolate Cake which she made from scratch! (My mouth is watering.) My third and most recent addiction is dark chocolate covered almonds.
You may be wondering who is writing this article – after all, I’m supposed to be a fitness coach! But I assure you, it is me, Christina. I’m sharing my confession with you for four reasons…
- Chocolate may help reduce the risk of heart attack by up to 50% (in some cases).
- Chocolate has been shown to reduce blood pressure and increase insulin sensitivity.
- Chocolate can improve arterial blood flow.
- Chocolate can help people with chronic fatigue syndrome.
Those are some pretty good reasons, right? But let’s not get carried away here. There are good and bad chocolates out there. Many of the chocolate bars and candies we purchase in the grocery store checkout are filled with preservatives, added sugars, added fats, colors, and flavorings – all of which void out any of the health benefits associated with the chocolate. Here’s how to choose your chocolate:
The best source of antioxidant-rich chocolate is the cacao nib. The nib is really just a slightly processed cacao bean that is ready to be powdered and processed into a chocolate bar. Because it’s the least processed form you can purchase – it maintains the most nutritional value.
If you want something already processed for you – like a yummy chocolate bar – then choosing a bar with at least 70% dark chocolate is your best bet (the higher the dark chocolate content the better).
Avoid regular chocolate bars (found at convenience stores) and opt for the organic ones. I like Green & Black’s 85% Dark Cocoa bar. Another option – drink your chocolate! Click here to get a recipe for a delicious German Chocolate Cherry ‘Cake’ smoothie and see just how good chocolate can be!