Healthy Eating Tips Healthy Foods

Top Five “Fat” Superfoods: Cocoa

 

Why Is Cocoa A Top Five Fat Super Food?
If you are looking for a feel good food that helps your mind, body and soul, look no further. Mood, memory and medical health are a few of the benefits of this “super food”.
Cocoa is super food number four!
Cocoa Benefits Your Mind and Body
Cocoa effects your mind through hormones and chemical messengers (serotonin, phenylethylamine and theobromine and insulin)  that stimulates feelings of euphoria, boosts mood and memory.
A randomized placebo controlled study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that healthy men who consumed 500 mg of cocoa felt significantly more calm and content than those in the placebo group after 30 days, http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0269881112473791.
Calm and content are important for your emotional well being. Cocoa goes beyond improving your mood,   it can boost memory and help improve health. A 2015 study found cocoa significantly reduces age-related mental decline, blood pressure and insulin resistance.
Ninety elderly volunteers participated in a randomized double-blind, controlled, parallel-arm study.  For 8 weeks they drank a cocoa filled beverage containing 993 mg (HF), 520 mg (IF) and  48 mg (LF). Significant improvements in insulin resistance, blood pressure and cognitive function were observed in the HF and IF groups. Changes in insulin resistance explained ∼17% of positive changes in mental health, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25733639.
Cocoa also works as an anti-inflammatory after its’ fiber is fermented in the gut. The anti-inflammatory compounds help improve diabetes, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23870648 and heart health, http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-is-dark-chocolate-good-for-you-thank-your-microbes/.”

  • “Healthy young adults consumed one small square of 70 percent cocoa chocolate each day for a month.  Those eating the chocolate experienced an increase, 14 to 23 percent, in blood flow to and from the heart from. “

 
Why Is The Percentage of Cocoa Important?  
Because the higher the percentage of cacao, the more flavanols, antioxidants and fiber. By default, there are less amounts of unhealthy ingredients such as sugar and milk solids. The goal is to get as close to 100% cocoa as possible and avoid Dutch processing (cocoa that is treated with an alkali to neutralize its natural acidity).
Why Fat Is Important
Fat absolutely does not detract from the health value of chocolate. The type of fat in cocoa butter is unlikely to clog arteries because it contains the same monounsaturated fat as olive oil, (oleic acid known for supporting good heart-healthy) and stearic acid (a saturated fat  that has a neutral effect on cholesterol).
Nutrients in Cocoa
Not many of us realize cocoa is power packed with a variety nutrients. Findings from a Cornell University study has shown cocoa has nearly twice the antioxidants in red wine, and up to three times the antioxidants found in green tea. Cocoa also contains magnesium, iron, chromium, vitamin C, zinc and other micronutrients.
Read the labels on any product you purchase. Focus on the ingredients section to know what it is you are exactly eating. All dark chocolate is not created equal. Dark chocolate can be loaded with sugar. There is absolutely no reason not to indulge in a small amount daily, 1 square a day.
Try one of these delicious “cocoa bars”:

  1. >90% Cocoa Lindt
  2. Vivani 85% Cocoa
  3. Endangered Species 88% dark chocolate bites

Cocoa Wrap Up
Dark chocolate is the perfect “guiltless” pleasure. If you love chocolate, eat it! Eat cocoa in small amounts to boost your mood, health and improve healthy nutrition.
Have you had your super “fat” food indulgence today?

About the author

Valerie Goldstein

Valerie raises the bar for health and nutrition know how with unconventional expertise and unconditional support for wellness.

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