Yes you read that correctly! It’s good news, isn’t it?
But that doesn’t mean going out there and start buying Hershey bars in bulk. The type of chocolate is paramount. I’m talking only about DARK CHOCOLATE. The darker the better, and the less sugar the better.
How could it be that I’m recommending you eat more of something so delicious? Well, we really lucked out with chocolate. There are so many benefits to eating it. In fact, one of the longest-living people on Earth, Mexican woman Leandra Becerra Lumbreras who died last year just short of 128 years-old, says eating chocolate every day is a huge part of her longevity. How could that be?
- Dark chocolate is packed with micro-nutrients. If you eat a 100g bar of dark chocolate, you’ll get one-third of your daily value of fiber, two-thirds of your daily value of iron, over half your daily value of magnesium, and all the copper and manganese you need for the day. You also get smaller (but still significant) amounts of zinc, phosphorus, selenium and potassium.
- It is very helpful in terms of good fats vs. bad fats and good cholesterol vs. bad cholesterol. The fats in cocoa are almost all monounsaturated–these are the kinds of fats you want, with only a tiny portion of polyunsaturated fats. But even then, it’s not processed Omega 6 fatty acids that are the scourge of Western health today. In terms of cholesterol, cocoa prevents bad cholesterol from oxidizing. When bad cholesterol oxidizes, that’s when it starts doing damage to arteries and leading to stroke, heart disease and heart attack. It also raises your levels of good cholesterol, which is great for hormone production and cellular health.
- It’s good for diabetics and diabetes prevention. This one might just blow some minds. Keep in mind, we’re talking about 75-80% cocoa, very dark chocolate. None of this mostly sugar “mocolate” you get at the grocery store right before you check out. Cocoa itself has beens shown to decrease insulin resistance, the primary problem for diabetics.
- Dark chocolate is a great for detoxification because of its high level of antioxidants. There have even been studies showing that it’s a better antioxidant than any fruit on Earth. It’s got one of the highest Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of any substance we know of, meaning it is extremely powerful at neutralizing cancer-causing free radicals in your body. Cocoa and green tea are the rock star antioxidants.
- Dark chocolate is very good for your heart. Not only does it raise good cholesterol while neutralizing bad cholesterol (as mentioned above), dark chocolate lowers blood pressure and increases blood flow by signaling to the artery walls to relax slightly. Several studies have also shown that eating dark chocolate over the course of several years lowers the risk of heart attack and cardiovascular disease. One must eat quite a bit of it, though, at at least 200g a week.
- All the extra blood flow eating dark chocolate gets you is also very good for your brain health. Studies have linked dark chocolate consumption to better use of language, higher alertness and help with elderly people with dementia.
- One of the compounds in dark chocolate that contributes to its antioxidant properties–flavonol–is also a powerful guard against skin damage. It’s been shown to make your skin more resistant to sun damage. All the more reason to chow down on dark chocolate while on vacation!
A few words of warning regarding dark chocolate consumption. As mentioned before, the darker the better in terms of your health. And if you can swing it, make sure your dark chocolate is organic. Cocoa beans are subject to the same standards as any other major crop and the non-organic stuff is covered in pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Lastly, be aware that even the darkest chocolate is a high-calorie food. Eating 100g of dark chocolate is about 600 calories. Do that three times in a day and you’re at your limit for maintaining your weight. If you’re trying to lose weight, maybe wait until you’ve reached your goal weight before introducing more chocolate.
Other than that, let the guilt go. Eating dark chocolate is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself.
Dr. Sarah Ernst, D.C. is the founder of Prosperity Health. She is a cellular detoxification coach and chiropractor. She has obtained countless hours of training in cellular detoxification, functional endocrinology, and female hormone issues.