Health by Chocolate
Antioxidants and flavonoids make good quality homemade chocolate a healthy immunobooster!
Although chocolate is mostly seen as a sweet treat today, historically it was used for medicinal and healing purposes.
The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology recently published findings of the neuroprotective benefits of chocolate and studies indicate that it boots cognitive performance and possibly helps prevent Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. The research also suggests that the flavonoids in chocolate help increase the blood supply to the brain and lower the risk of stroke.
In the last decade or so researches have published several findings on other health benefits of chocolate consumption and topical applications. Antioxidant effects of cocoa may directly influence insulin resistance and, in turn, reduce risk for diabetes. Cocoa can protect nerves from injury and inflammation, chocolate used as an ingredient in topical preparations, helps protect the skin from oxidative damage caused by UV radiation. and have beneficial effects on emotional satisfaction, cognitive function, and mood. Here are ways to get a dose of chocolate health:
1. CHOCOLATE A DAY
A 100 gms bar of pure dark chocolate (70-80% cocoa) is said to be rich in potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium. In the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI)*, chocolate has:
- 11 grams of fibre
- 67% of the RDI for iron
- 58% of the RDI for magnesium
- 89% of the RDI for copper
- 98% of the RDI for manganese
*Figures are indicative and sourced from online resources
Make a quick snack plate with 2 squares of dark chocolate, 4 almonds, 2 dates. You will have a slow release of energy to keep you going, a good boost of essential minerals and fibre.
2. EXERCISE GOALS, SHAKE IT UP!
To help achieve your workout goals set some end-of-session chocolate treats. A workout routine can be monotonous, add some chocolate sprinkles to it in the form of a natural protein chocolate shake, a chocolate nut bar, a granola chocolate cookie. These guilt-free pleasures make you feel satisfied and rewarded.
3. FEED YOUR SKIN SOME CHOCOLATE LOVE
The topical benefits of chocolate have been known for decades. Recent research suggest that chocolate based creams and lotions help prevent oxidative damages from UV radiation. They also reduce inflammation on skin.
A yummy face pack to rid the summer sun damage:
6 squares of dark homemade chocolate
1 tbsp of pure honey
1 tbsp of rich creamy yoghurt
Carefully melt the chocolate. Let it cool. Add the honey and the yoghurt to form a thick paste. Apply generously on face, neck, arms and feet.
4. ANTIOXIDANTS ALL THE WAY.
There is an antioxidant party going on inside every square of rich dark homemade chocolate. Polyphenols, flavanols and catechins, these are compounds that make dark chocolate antioxidants rich. Studies suggest that cocoa and dark chocolate have more antioxidant activity, polyphenols and flavanols than any other fruits tested, which included blueberries and acai berries, which are considered superfoods.
5. CHEER WITH CHOCOLATE SHOTS
Fun is a chocolate cheer with some summer fruit and dark chocolate shots.
Boil 2 cups of milk in low heat till it reduces to half, add 8 squares of dark homemade chocolate. Pour it into shot glasses. Decorate with strawberry wedges and serve. The key to longevity is to keep your chocolate pure, dark and healthy.