If you don’t have a hankering for chocolate, I don’t think we can be friends. I kid, of course. We can be friends—we just won’t talk about chocolate. I’d have to prove you wrong every time the topic came up, and that’s no way to treat a friend.
When it comes to the health benefits of chocolate, there are two sides to the story. While it is possible to find research that claims chocolate is bad for you, I tend to lean toward all the studies that sing its praises. Why? Because I don’t think a guilty pleasure like chocolate is something we should stress out about. And I refuse to do it!
The key is to look for the right chocolate. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, if you were planning to dazzle your loved ones with the health benefits of this most perfect gift, you need to get informed. And yes, I did just say chocolate is the perfect gift—at least for those of us who aren’t big on bling.
Here’s the scoop on chocolate:
- Raw cacao is the way to go—in its raw form, many people consider it a super food. You want to stay away from the refined cocoas so prevalent in regular grocery stores. Like most other foods, consuming it as close to the way nature intended keeps the nutrients intact. Also, make sure your chocolate is organic.
- The health benefits provided by this treat include increased serotonin levels, stimulated secretion of endorphins, and intensified glucose metabolism. Raw cocoa also provides many essential minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, and iron, as well as heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.
- It isn’t always easy to find a chocolate bar with raw cacao as the main ingredient and with no refined sugars. Of course, an Internet search can help you find just about anything, including raw cacao chocolate bars for your loved ones—or yourself. Hey, you know you’re swell and you deserve it.
- If you prefer to make your own, it’s easy to start whipping up raw cacao goodies in no time at all. Here’s a basic recipe for homemade chocolate using just five ingredients.
- Everything in moderation. There’s never a good reason to binge on sweet treats—even the healthier options.
If you’re anything like me, this time of year you’re telling the gift givers in your life to skip the sparkly gifts. Keep it simple with a tasty, self-indulgent treat made with raw cacao. You can go ahead and share a tiny nibble. But then hide the rest immediately—or watch it disappear.
What’s your favorite healthy sweet treat?
Photo from iStock/digihelion