Updated: May 26, 2020
Over four weeks since The Elimination Diet entered my life and we are reintroducing chocolate - yay!
I was a little hesitant to bring chocolate back into my diet.....hell, who am I kidding, I was chomping at the bit to scoff down some of the dark stuff!!
I went with the raw chocolate angle - ie chocolate that is virtually healthy - no really it is!
With raw chocolate, they process the beans at a low temperature and that retains more of the nutrients and goodness. Because they are not roasted they are considered raw.
That means if you are lactose intolerant or don't want to eat animal products (you're vegan/plant-based) then raw chocolate is a great option. They tend not to use milk, they tend to use organic ingredients and coconut sugar is used instead of refined sugar = healthy!!
There are health benefits found within cacao beans and they are preserved because of how the bean is processed. Cacao contains flavonoids which are antioxidant compounds said to protect against cell damage caused by free-radicals. The flavonoids found in cacao are called flavonols and research has found that they are especially beneficial with regard to blood flow. Helping to lower blood pressure, promote normal blood clotting function and – as part of a healthy diet and exercise routine - have been said to decrease the risk of heart disease. Raw chocolate is also high in minerals such as iron, magnesium and manganese which help to sustain energy levels and protect cells.
Ordinary chocolate is processed with high heat, which removes many of the beneficial flavonoids – hence raw chocolate contains more. In fact, the flavonoid content of raw chocolate can be six times more than that of standard bars.
Chocolate is also known for its mood-boosting qualities, as it encourages the production of ‘happy hormone’ endorphins and contains serotonin, which acts as a mild, natural anti-depressant.
And there is more....... a study done in a Columbian University found that high-flavonol cocoa rejuvenated activity in the part of the brain where decline occurs. These flavonols were seen to promote blood flow to this region in the brain and in some cases, the researchers saw participants’ memories restored to that of someone twenty or thirty years younger. (Naturally, more work needs to be done to clarify and confirm the suggestion, but it’s a discovery that ticks my boxes!)
However, let's not get too carried away, it can still be addictive, high in caffeine (the unroasted cocoa beans used in raw chocolate contains almost the same level of caffeine as coffee beans) and some even claim it could be toxic.
Eating raw cacao in excess could also be dangerous. Theobromine poisoning has been reported to cause heart failure, seizures, acute kidney damage and dehydration.
Basically, if like me, your order from the health shop only contains raw chocolate - eat it in moderation, not in one sitting!!
more later x