What if I told you there was such a thing called “healthy chocolate?” And then I told you it could function as sunscreen, increase your circulation, increase your hydration levels, decrease inflammation in your body and smooth out rough, scaly skin? (Oh and it tastes DIVINE!!!!)
Your response may have sounded a little like mine when my personal trainer, Coach PJ, first introduced me to the concept of “Healthy chocolate.” Sounds like an oxymoron to me. I mean, are you joking? Isn’t chocolate exactly what gave me all of those zits in high school? Isn’t it what drives me to delirium if I’m deprived of its velvety texture when I have my period? “
The answer is yes and …. no. Key into “Healthy Chocolate.”
Chocolate is getting a lot of press these days. Dark chocolate that is. And not just any old dark chocolate- this not to be confused with the chocolates you find in the grocery store that are infused with white (refined) sugar, milk fats and hydrogenated oils. Pure cocoa is loaded with phytonutrients, polyphenols and flavanoids. All of which have been indicated to slow the aging process by eradicating free radicals and lowering oxidative stress in the body.
A German Study, concluded, (view complete study www.pubmed.com)
-“Long term cocoa ingestion leads to an increased resistance against UV induced erythema and lowered transepidermal water loss.”
-“Flavanol rich cocoa consumption acutely increases dermal blood flow and oxygen saturation.”
-“Ingestion of high flavanol cocoa led to increased skin density and skin hydration.”
OK, you are listening. One of your favorite things in the world could be good for you! (This gets me just as excited as when Dr. Oz gives the green light on Red wine!!)
It is important to point out however; grocery store chocolate isn’t going to cut it.
Many companies have begun labeling their dark chocolate 70% pure cocoa. This is a good start but does not accurately describe how the chocolate is processed. According to a study published in The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, just because the cocoa powder is of higher purity, does not mean it retains its flavanol content. Often chocolate is alkalized because it is easier to mix, digest and manipulate color. This process can decrease nutritional values by two thirds. In addition, most manufacturers use a “Dutching” process that bring the chocolate to over 400 degrees, boiling away all of the nutrients and natural antioxidant properties.
What to look for:
The labeling must indicate that the product:
-has not been alkalized
-has been dried and cold pressed rather than roasted.
-consists of at least 70% cocoa
-uses cocoa butter instead of milk fats or hydrogenated oils
-contains natural, low glycemic sweeteners such as raw sugar cane rather than refined sugars
My favorite of the Healthy Chocolate is the XOCAI brand. This brilliant company has combined unprocessed cocoa and the highly acclaimed Acai berry from the Amazon rain forest. Their ORAC values are off the charts (ORAC= Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity. This is a measure used by the USDA to rate antioxidant capacities of different foods) AND they carry the Brunswick Laboratories seal of approval. (www.brunswicklabs.com is an independent, full service bio-analytical lab specializing in the science of antioxidants and oxidative stress.)
The ‘Mega Squares’ that provide a daily dose of fiber and Omega 3 contain a hint of orange and are oh-so-delicious. I have to stop myself at the recommended 3 per day, they are so yummy!
An apple a day? So 2000.
To order healthy chocolate directly go to www.chocolatepurity.com. Or call Coach PJ at 858-663-7146.
Kimberly is the owner of Thrive! Body and Skin and single mom to Corbin in San Diego. firstname.lastname@example.org.