My Guilty Pleasure….dark chocolate.

I am on the Paleo diet now to support my body and the recent stem cell treatment I had in Panama. I eat healthy, organic, unprocessed, whole fruits and vegetables, and grass-fed organic protein. I’ve been consuming organic health foods for a very long time.

One treat outside of the “fruit and veggie” regime, is my chocolate hit. Who doesn’t like chocolate?

I have found an amazing source for a dark chocolate treat that is Paleo, organic, no refined sugar, no dairy, no soy lecithin. It is absolutely delicious. Best thing of all is it is good for my body in so many ways.

Many studies show that dark chocolate has so many benefits and I’m onboard with that.

With Multiple Sclerosis, one of the issues I could face is “cognitive decline”. I know we all head that way as we age but MS is known to cause early cognitive decline. I don’t have any signs of that issue and I’m happy for that. Maybe my, almost daily, dose of healthy dark chocolate is helping in this department.

The polyphenols in dark chocolate (at lease 70% dark cacao) help to stave off midlife cognitive decline and may help to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s later in life.

Another benefit of eating premium quality dark chocolate is a reduction in the risk of heart disease and stroke risk, as well as metabolic syndrome and diabetes. The reduction or lowering of blood pressure from eating dark chocolate is one of the reasons it is so heart healthy. Cocoa also promotes alertness and reduces stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. It’s an energy boost for your brain.

These studies do not give you permission to overeat chocolate though or you could set yourself up for weight gain and all of it’s side effects. Dark chocolate is a treat, not to be abused with over consumption. I try to keep my chocolate intake to 1/4 of a regular size bar of premium, organic dark chocolate. Rather than chew and swallow, I put a square of chocolate in my mouth and let it dissolve slowly. It is a nice way to make a little bit of chocolate go a long way. It’s my way of “mindfully” eating chocolate and reaping it’s benefits at the same time.

Cocoa is a superfood. There are over 300 different natural chemicals in it and many of those compounds have anti-inflammatory properties. The darker the chocolate the better for getting the benefits of these polyphenols.

Regarding chocolate consumption and diabetes prevention, studies show that one of the many compounds in dark chocolate helps fight diabetes. The compounds can help the pancreas release insulin and deal with increased blood glucose more efficiently.

Chocolate has always been considered an “indulgence” in the past. We related eating chocolate as a reward or a celebration food at Valentine’s Day, Easter bunnies, Christmas candy dishes full of chocolate. But now….studies are shifting this “indulgence” attitude towards chocolate to a more health promoting “indulgence”. I can’t stress enough, that it must be good quality, least processed, darkest chocolate you can find. A chocolate bar full of sugary corn syrup and highly processed additives is not the healthy chocolate I refer to here. I am not recommending high refined carbohydrates such as chocolate brownies and cakes. This chocolate fix must be low in sugar and high in cocoa. A good place to start is a 70% dark chocolate working your taste buds up to the more bitter tasting 85% dark chocolate.

Good chocolate is loaded with flavonoids, polyphenols, catechism and is rich in antioxidants. It’s a superfood you should enjoy, knowing you are helping your brain, heart, pancreas and mood.

Yummy!

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