Chocolate - an ingredient, and a food group.
Well not really—but to me, it should be. Powerfully comforting, delicious. Many eat chocolate several times a week. I call them amateurs, because people like me—well—we eat it nearly every day!
Which begs the question…
Is Chocolate Good for You?
Like so many things, the answer is both yes and no.
Chocolate has been used for centuries to treat bronchitis, fatigue, hangovers, anemia, depression, memory loss, high blood pressure, poor eyesight, sexual malaise and more. It also helps release that feel-good neurotransmitter—serotonin—in the brain. Which explains why it’s my “Go-To” food whenever I’m seeking comfort.
But eat the wrong kind and you’ll get loads of refined sugar, calories, chemicals and other questionable ingredients.
How to Eat it Responsibly
Chocolate begins life as raw cacao (pronounced kah-kow) beans. Loaded with antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and plant phenols, cacao is a powerful superfood. The more processed cacao becomes, however—think commercially produced candy bars—the fewer healthy components remain.
So how to get the most out of your chocolate fix?
- Don’t be afraid of the dark. The darker the chocolate, the more beneficial enzymes it contains.
- Know your percentages: the number on dark chocolate packaging refers to the percentage of cacao bean in chocolate. For maximum health benefit, look for dark chocolate that has 70% to 85% cacao.
- Go raw—or as unprocessed as possible. Higher processing = lower nutrients.
Looking for more fun ways to enjoy your favorite food? You’ll love this dark chocolate treat. Invite some friends over and make a batch!
Raw Chocolate Truffles
Prep time: 20 minutes
Makes 25 truffles (unless you’re like me and tasting as you go…)
- 1 cup raw cacao powder (cocoa powder will work also)
- 1 cup cashews
- ½ cup maple syrup
- Water (to mix)
- Roll-in ingredients: shredded coconut, chopped nuts, chocolate nibs, raw sugar, cacao powder, ginger, or something else you love.
- Mix nuts in a food processor until a powder, adding enough water to create a thick paste. (I often use nut butter and haven’t needed the water.)
- Add maple syrup to nuts and pulse to process.
- Add cacao powder. Pulse to process.
- Refrigerate for four hours or overnight for best results.
- Form teaspoon-sized balls of dough and coat with your chosen roll-in ingredients.
GET EVEN HEALTHIER!
Are you curious about how to choose chocolate—and other delicious superfoods—to keep you healthy (and your taste buds happy)? Let’s talk! Schedule a complimentary health coaching consultation with me today—or pass this offer on to someone you care about! Schedule Now
Wishing you the joy of chocolate!
P.S. Looking for good food choices? Join us on the KTC's Let's Eat REAL Facebook group! It's a great community to share tips and recipes for eating and living well. Just click the link above and then click “Join.”