so, for the past few months I have been increasing my physical activity and eating smaller more healthy portions (you know the drill). b;ah blah blah I had almost entirely cut sweets out of my diet when yesterday out of nowhere insane chocolate cravings hit me. This was/has been an irrational unexplainable feeling :)
Instead of resisting and putting myself in a torturous hell, I am giving in for 24 hours (2 hours left). So this post is dedicated to a glorious momentary chocolate addiction, whenever yours strikes. Bon appetite (if this happens to you opt for dark chocolate or carob! - Read below to see research attempt to support my problem)
Life is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get. Forrest Gump in “Forrest Gump” (1994)
model: Heidi Klum, source: Wetbehindtheears
source: sanders candy
pictured: chocolate spiral pastry, source: jkitchenlog
authors: John Scharffenberger & Robert Steinberg, title: The Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate
source: Love in the Dark
Just to Justify this all I did some research…
For years health experts have lauded the health benefits of dark chocolate – here are the reasons why
By Bev Bennett - CTW Features
Chocolate: it’s intense, luscious, rich and highly caloric. And, it’s good for you. So good, in fact, that chocolate is mentioned in the University of Michigan Healing Foods Pyramid (www.med.umich.edu/umim).
“I think chocolate is really good for you,” says Dr. Timothy S. Harlan, who runs the food and nutrition Web site, http://www.drgourmet.com.
Chocolate contains antioxidants that may reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol, reduce your risk of blood clots and increase blood flow. It may also improve your mood by boosting the endorphin levels in your brain, according to the University of Michigan’s department of Integrative Medicine.
What a sweet deal!
But before you rush off to the supermarket for your favorite chocolate brand you should know a few things to get the greatest health benefit from this indulgence. Cocoa solids, the product of cocoa bean processing, are the source of antioxidants that may provide health benefits.
The greater the percentage of cocoa solids, the more antioxidants you’re likely to get, says Jenna Wunder, R.D., with the University of Michigan Department of Integrative Medicine. You’ll see the percentage given on the label of most high-quality dark chocolate bars.
“We recommend 70 percent or more. The higher the quality the better,” says Wunder.
You’ll find chocolate bars delivering up to 85 percent cocoa (usually expressed as percentage of cacao, the seeds of the cacao tree used to make cocoa, chocolate and cocoa butter) in your supermarket. A new 91 percent bittersweet chocolate, called Choclatique 1-91, was recently introduced.
When manufacturers increase the percentage of cocoa solids in a chocolate bar, they decrease the sugar and other ingredients. Take a taste. If the chocolate is too bitter, you’re not going to enjoy the experience.
Unfortunately milk chocolate doesn’t confer the same advantages as the dark version. Milk binds to the antioxidants in chocolate making them unavailable (In fact, you shouldn’t drink milk while you’re eating dark chocolate.), Wunder says. As healthful as dark chocolate is, moderation is still key, say health professionals.
“At its baseline, a bar of chocolate is good for you. It does have a lot more calories [than many other foods] and that’s where people get into trouble,” says Dr. Harlan. An ounce of dark chocolate, the amount of chocolate that fits into the center of your hand, has about 140 calories and 9 grams total fat.
Purchase chocolate by the ounce so you’re not tempted to overdo it, says Wunder. Enjoy chocolate in place of another snack that’s high in calories and fat, but without the antioxidants, or combine chocolate with fruit so you’re getting the potential of both foods.
By Mark Stibich, Ph.D., About.com Guide
Updated April 26, 2009
Why is Dark Chocolate Healthy?
Chocolate is made from plants, which means it contains many of the health benefits of dark vegetables. These benefits are from flavonoids, which act as antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from aging caused by free radicals, which can cause damage that leads to heart disease. Dark chocolate contains a large number of antioxidants (nearly 8 times the number found in strawberries). Flavonoids also help relax blood pressurethrough the production of nitric oxide, and balance certain hormones in the body.
Heart Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate:
Dark chocolate is good for your heart. A small bar of it everyday can help keep your heart and cardiovascular system running well. Two heart health benefits of dark chocolate are:
Lower Blood Pressure: Studies have shown that consuming a small bar of dark chocolate everyday can reduce blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure.
Lower Cholesterol: Dark chocolate has also been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) by up to 10 percent.
Chocolate also holds benefits apart from protecting your heart:
- it tastes good
- it stimulates endorphin production, which gives a feeling of pleasure
- it contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant
- it contains theobromine, caffeine and other substances which are stimulants
That means only 1/3 of the fat in dark chocolate is bad for you.