The U.S. Nationa Confectioners Association lists, today September 13 as The International Chocolate Day, would you like to join the celebration?
At this point we have all heard about the benefits and properties, almost magical, of chocolate (cacao), it isn’t that I need an excuse to enjoy a good bite of chocolate, but it is always good to have science on your side.
- Cacao is good for our mental health, it increases the production of serotonin, the hormone that makes us feel good. It also helps reduce stress and anxiety. Keep in mind that the benefits only occur when cocoa consumption is moderate and constant.
- Increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients in our body, producing more energy. At the same time that it has a positive impact on the arteries, it causes the pressure to reduce and become more elastic, thus favoring the response to high blood pressure peaks.
- Cocoa fat can increase good cholesterol (HDL) and reduce bad (LDL). The antioxidants in cocoa help fight inflammation and the risks of heart disease.
But like everything, there are some rules and conditions for all this to happen, and that means, not all the chocolate they sell out there is good for our health.
From the cocoa tree we obtain the cocoa pods, from which the cocoa butter (cacao fat), cocoa nibs (chopped cocoa pod) and cocoa powder (produced once the fat is extracted from the cocoa beans) are produced. In the market, most of the chocolate products that we found have been processed and altered, so we have to be very careful with what we buy.
To benefit from the medicinal qualities of chocolate in a healthy and satisfying way, we must know what to look for in chocolate:
- Make sure that the chocolate is at least 75% cocoa.
- Read the ingredients on the labels, look for those with 5 or less (recognizable) ingredients and
- The less sugar is better, avoid refined sugars and syrups, ideally sweetened with stevia, honey or coconut sugar.
- The best thing would be to buy cocoa powder, 100% crude, so you can add it to your recipes and make your own creations.
And now, the best part, enjoy the chocolate. Here I leave my favorite recipes with cocoa to help you incorporate it in a healthier way in your day to day.