WRITTEN BY NATHALIE NIDDAM | ACADEMY OF LIONS NUTRITIONIST | TORONTO
Valentine’s Day is Coming Up! Just in case you needed reasons why chocolate is good for you here’s the low down and a link to one of the BEST chocolate desserts EVER.
To have this discussion we must begin with a qualifier - none of this information applies to candy bars (aka Oh Henry, Aero, Crispy Crunch etc.), to milk chocolate or to white chocolate. My apologies, if you haven’t already, now would be a great time to recalibrate your taste buds to love dark chocolate. Preferably 72% or more, ideally organic and preferably fair trade. The downside of this is that it will cost a bit more money than said candy bars but the upside is that you get to enjoy delicious chocolate regularly, knowing that it is actually good for you. Have it In moderation, note the price tag, and a $5 bar should last a few days not 30 seconds. Onwards!
Health Benefits of Cacao:
- Cacao is high in antioxidants called flavonoids - these may help to neutralize free radicals that ultimately can cause disease.
- Cacao may help to lower blood pressure, at least for the time that you are eating it - studies don’t exactly recommend popping a few squares of the dark stuff during blood pressure spikes but this effect has been observed.
- Cacao may help to optimize circulation.
- Cacao may also help to normalize cholesterol levels lowering LDL and increasing HDL
- Cacao may have beneficial effects on mood - as any number of us can attest, a nice little hit of chocolate can go a long way to making us feel better.
Other than a delicious Giddy Yoyo Chocolate Bar you can also get your hit from:
- Raw unsweetened cacao powder - add a tablespoon into your morning shake, see recipe below.
- Cacao nibs add some into a bag of mixed seeds and nuts with some shredded coconut for your afternoon snack.
- Raw cacao butter in your shake, it’s better if it’s hot.
Cacao butter is an interesting product, it has a smooth rich flavour, if you haven’t tried it I’d almost describe it as “essence” of chocolate. It happens to be incredibly high in antioxidants, so high as a matter of fact that it is incredibly stable and can be kept for anywhere from 2-5 years without spoiling. Like coconut oil, you can also use it topically as a skin or even scalp moisturizer.
Back to the issue at hand - Valentine’s Day will be here soon, so here’s an amazing dessert you can make that will WOW your valentine - it’s one of my favourites, we can all thank nom nom paleo for this one - it really is worth making and you will forgive me for not retyping the recipe - here is a link to the recipe complete with step by step pictures.