Health Benefits of Chocolate

Can it really be healthy……. ?  Hmmm…….now there’s a question! Chocolate, like many foods,  is packed with nutrients when in it’s raw natural state.  Freshly made raw chocolate is definitely a healthier option than processed chocolate filled with refined sugar & pasteurised dairy but does that mean we can consider it a health food?  Well, that’s really depends who you ask…..  so maybe the question to ask ourselves should really be “do we want chocolate in our life?” and if so, do we have a healthy relationship with it?

Is chocolate a nutritious food?  It really is full of healthy goodness – the 2 main minerals it contains are Magnesium (good for our bones, our heart, our blood and helps alleviate symptoms of PMT,) as well as Sulphur, the beauty mineral (good for hair, eyes, skin and teeth). Chocolate is packed with iron, B-vitamins and also contains the essential amino acid tryptophan which the brain uses to make serotonin.  It is full of anti-oxidants and has a high ORAC rating (ORAC = Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, a system developed to measure the effectiveness of antioxidants to absorb free radicals in the body).  In fact, chocolate is rated higher than many other well known  anti-oxidants such as blueberries, goji berries and green tea.

The main reason that chocolate (whether raw or heated) is controversial with regards to health is because it contains caffeine and theobromine (which is similar to caffeine).  Both can have stimulating effects on some people, particularly when raw and especially if eaten in excess.  For those with adrenal fatigue or who leads stressful lives, eating chocolate in moderation is a wise move. For some people however, raw chocolate can have a calm relaxing effect.

Additional ingredients also impact how healthy or unhealthy chocolate ends up – what has it been sweetened with? There are several different sugars available which all have plus and negative aspects to them. We can also add superfoods to enhance flavour and impact the way we feel.

Chocolate is viewed by many as being medicinal, it certainly is a magical food and can quite easily be part of a balanced diet. If you don’t have a sweet tooth then try adding raw chocolate to savoury dishes – sprinkle cacao nibs in a salad or add them to dips and sauces.

Thoughout history, the cacao bean has been considered a precious food.  It has been worshiped, used in religious ceremonies, fought over and used as currency. There’s definitely something complex and special about this bean ♥

Raw chocolate often introduces people to the raw food lifestyle and for that reason alone it can be educating and inspiring. For further reading on this subject, have a look at this article by Kate Magic