Heart healthy, delicious dark chocolate

Chocolate - your favorite antioxidant superfood

Chocolate – your favorite antioxidant superfood

I’m sure you’ve heard the rumors – that chocolate is good for you. And the naysayers who argue otherwise. Several studies have been done around the issue. It turns out that a daily dose of the “food of the gods” has numerous benefits ranging from euphoria to a healthier heart. Of course, the more processed your cacao, the less healthy. And, as a lover of fine chocolate, even some of the dark versions aren’t worth the pennies. Well, maybe in a pinch…

Need some excuses to believe me? Try these:

  • An excellent source of potassium, magnesium and calcium. And it contains vitamins A, B1, B2, D, and E.
  • Yes, it has caffeine – about 6 to 10 mg in a bar. Coffee? 100-150. Translate the chocolate burst into increased intellectual activity, decreased fatigue, and greater perceptive skills – without the jitters. Maybe those of you that need a dose of caffeine to curb your headaches could try a nibble of the good stuff instead?
  • Theobromine, another stimulant in chocolate, fires up the central nervous system and facilitates muscle exertion. A UK study actually theorizes that the same chemical can work as a cough medicine.
  • With all that stimulation, one study found that 1.5 ounces of 85% dark helps with chronic fatigue.
  • Chocolate does indeed have saturated fat, but the acid in chocolate prevents LDL (the bad) cholesterol.
  • Boosts your mood with endorphins – that means, natural euphoria. Another way to boost your endorphin level? Exercise. And another? Orgasm.
  • Oh! Endorphins also help with premenstrual syndrome. No wonder women like chocolate.
  • A few squares of dark love a day reduces the risk of heart attack by up to 50%.
  • Did I mention all the antioxidants? Everyone is talking about them these days – mainly because they decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
  • Some people argue that the sugar in chocolate negates some of the benefits. An Italian study points out that dark chocolate actually helps regulate blood sugar, which could reduce the risk of diabetes and hypoglycemia.
  • No official studies prove that it is an aphrodisiac. But we know otherwise, don’t we?

Are you convinced? Just a few squares a day…

Check out these articles (my primary sources) for more information. “Chocolate: Food of the Gods“, “Studies Prove that Chocolate Really is Good for You” and “Why Chocolate is Good for Your Heart“.

In the meantime, you might want to sample some really good chocolate. I try to avoid most of the stuff you find in the grocery store – basically, every bar that you grew up with. Great chocolate actually feels good to eat – during and after.

My all time favorite chocolate bars come from Vosges. You can find the bars at Whole Foods (and other boutique stores). In New York, I visited a Vosges store where I sampled amazing hot chocolate and truffles. Sheer bliss. Green and Black’s bars also find their way into my shopping fairly often. When I’m lucky, I’ll try other dark delicacies like Cacao Sampaka‘s La Joya, a bar made in Barcelona sitting next to me right now.

The others, even in the aisles of natural food stores, I tend to leave on the shelf. I know, I am a chocolate snob. But I like to eat the things that make me feel good.

Don’t compromise! Go find some good stuff this week. 🙂

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5 Responses to “Heart healthy, delicious dark chocolate”

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  1. Ann says:

    Want to try your hand at making your own “RAW” chocolate? It’s not as fancy as the store-bought boutique chocolate. Give it a try, or get some made locally. Either way, it really good. I think that raw chocolate is better than the processed stuff. Follow your bliss and eat to enjoy!

  2. choco ghetto girl says:

    All this sophisticated talk about chocolate. How many of us really have the time or energy to research the best of the best, and now Ephraim has done it for us. But, once you select and purchase that perfect chocolate, how do you keep it on hand? Impossible, in my case. I tell myself that I’m not going to buy it, because then I am thinking about it non-stop. And typically, it is devoured by the end of the day it is purchased. When I do give in and buy a sacred stash, I might try to tuck it away somewhere. You know, out of sight, out of mind. But that never works. Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder. Or, I might ask someone in my family to hide it from me, insisting that no matter how much I beg, they are NOT to divulge where they have concealed the chocolate. That doesn’t work either as they cannot stand the constant whining and begging when a craving hits.

    Because of the difficult situation I have just outlined, there are some of us who simply cannot be snobbish about our chocolate. One must be realistic. At the risk of being called a chocolate ghetto girl, I will now make a true confession. On those occasions when there are no other chocolate sources in the house, it is sometimes necessary to go directly to the fridge for a quick fix. With spoon in hand, a squeeze of the Hershey’s syrup bottle can take the edge off a true chocolate craving. Just a spoonful, or two. Okay, maybe three. I cannot be the only one who does this!

    One of my favorite chocolates is actually my own homemade hot fudge sauce. Warm, rich and drippy, it is excellent on a creamy bowl of ice cream, yet who can resist a spoonful right out of the jar. When taken straight from the fridge, unheated, it is so thick you have to coax it off the spoon with your tongue. Take time to heat it and you have pure ecstasy. And, recalling your previous post, Ephraim, that mentions sex as a cure for the common headache…imagine a sex and chocolate combo. Mmm, miraculous recovery from whatever ails you.

  3. Ephraim says:

    I haven’t actually tried any raw chocolate treats, though raw cacao beans are pretty tasty. I’m sure the health benefits are particularly high. I hate to make comparisons with the processed stuff…I have a funny feeling that I’ll like them all.

  4. Ephraim says:

    Oh my, ghetto girl, that might be the most exciting combination of pleasures I can imagine. No headache could stand against such a combo (and perhaps no woman either). Hmmm.

    I would think you would have to keep a bottle of your homemade chocolate sauce on hand all the time – just to keep away the temptation of Hershey’s. Then again, I imagine it would call to you from the fridge, in the deep, dark, secret hours of the night. You’d pad to the fridge, trying so hard not to wake the house, and spend some time with a jar and a spoon…

    I have discovered that with the more sophisticated chocolate, you actually need less to satisfy. Do you find that to be true of your recipe? (I’ve got to try some of that hot fudge).

    Thanks for your comment. Delightfully sensual and vivid and funny. (Not that we are laughing at your addiction, no we are not).

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