Raw Chocolate | benefits from your feel good food for life

food facts Oct 24, 2018

Do you crave chocolate?

Cacao has been cultivated for thousands of years, and its special properties have always been coveted.

Have you ever wondered why the bitter seed from the cacao tree is so irresistible?  The chemical phenethylamine triggers an endorphin release which has a similar effect on your brain as falling in love. That's why everything looks just a little bit rosier when you've had a taste of your favourite chocolate treat.

Chocolate can be healthy – provided that it's at least 70% organic cocoa and sweetened without sugar. Thankfully, more and more chocolate manufactures are using alternative sweeteners to augment their treats. Yacon, stevia, honey and coconut nectar are just a few of the healthier sweetening options on the market.

5 healthy reasons to eat raw chocolate

1. Raw chocolate can help hypertension-induced erectile dysfunction and those suffering from high blood pressure.

Dark chocolate contains flavanols, which have antioxidant properties and increase the bioavailability of nitric oxide, both of which help to reduce blood pressure.1

2. Raw chocolate can help prevent/improve Diabetes.

Flavanols found in dark chocolate can increase insulin sensitivity and the activity of pancreatic beta-cells, the cells responsible for secreting insulin in response to high blood glucose levels.2

Note: If you have Diabetes, make sure to only eat chocolate that is sweetened with date or coconut sugar, in moderation.

3. Raw chocolate promotes healthy cholesterol levels.

The antioxidants in dark chocolate can increase levels of “good” HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol.3 Also, the fatty acids in dark chocolate can make “bad” LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol less susceptible to oxidative damage by altering its fatty acid composition.

4. Raw chocolate can help decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Studies show that in only two hours after consuming 40g of dark chocolate, individuals can experience coronary vasodilation, improved coronary vascular function, and reduced platelet adhesion – all of which reduce the risk of developing a cardiovascular disease.4

5. Raw chocolate can help alleviate inflammatory conditions.

Consuming dark chocolate regularly in small amounts (20g every 3 days) can reduce symptoms associated with allergies, skin disorders, asthma, heart disease, arthritis, and other conditions ending in “itis”.5

 

References

 

  1. Davide Grassi, Cristina Lippi, Stefano Necozione, Giovambattista Desideri, and Claudio Ferri: “Short-term administration of dark chocolate is followed by a significant increase in insulin sensitivity and a decrease in blood pressure in healthy persons.”Am J Clin Nutr March 2005 vol. 81 no. 3 611-614
  2. Davide Grassi, Giovambattista Desideri, Stefano Necozione, Cristina Lippi, Raffaele Casale, Giuliana Properzi, Jeffrey B. Blumberg, and Claudio Ferri: “Blood Pressure Is Reduced and Insulin Sensitivity Increased in Glucose-Intolerant, Hypertensive Subjects after 15 Days of Consuming High-Polyphenol Dark Chocolate.” J. Nutr. September 2008 vol. 138 no. 9 1671-1676
  3. Jaakko Mursu, Sari Voutilainen, Tarja Nurmi, Tiina H. Rissanen, Jyrki K. Virtanen, Jari Kaikkonen, Kristiina Nyyssönen, Jukka T. Salonen: “Dark Chocolate Consumption Increases HDL Cholesterol Concentration and Chocolate Fatty Acids May Inhibit Lipid Peroxidation in Healthy Humans.” Free Radical Biology and Medicine Volume 37, Issue 9, 1 November 2004, Pages 1351–1359
  4. Andreas J. Flammer, Frank Hermann, Isabella Sudano, Lukas Spieker, Matthias Hermann, Karen A. Cooper, Mauro Serafini, Thomas F. Lüscher, Frank Ruschitzka, Georg Noll and Roberto Corti: “Dark Chocolate Improves Coronary Vasomotion and Reduces Platelet Reactivity.” Circulation. 2007;116:2376-2382 November 20, 2007, Volume 116, Issue 21
  5. Romina di Giuseppe, Augusto Di Castelnuovo, Floriana Centritto, Francesco Zito, Amalia De Curtis, Simona Costanzo, Branislav Vohnout, Sabina Sieri, Vittorio Krogh, Maria Benedetta Donati, Giovanni de Gaetano, and Licia Iacoviello: “Regular Consumption of Dark Chocolate Is Associated with Low Serum Concentrations of C-Reactive Protein in a Healthy Italian Population.” J. Nutr. October 2008 vol. 138 no. 10 1939-1945 

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