Celebrate Chocolate Week by munching on the good stuff....
We’re BIG fans of chocolate; white, milk, dark, Oreo filled, organic, raw…we love it ALL. What’s more, there are some health benefits to this heavenly treat.
We’re not talking bars of white chocolate though, we’re talking about the real, stripped back, raw cacao. It’s tasty AND nutritious. Nutritionist Cassandra Barns tells us why…
1. Heart Health
Raw cacao is high in flavanols; plant compounds associated with antioxidant activity. These flavanols are said to boost circulation to the heart and COULD reduce the risk of heart disease. These flavanols are far weaker in regular chocolate so stick to the raw stuff!’
2. Energy Boost
Best not to eat this too closely to bedtime.
Cassandra explains: ‘Cacao contains a small amount of caffeine, as well as a compound called theobromine, which has a mild stimulating and energising effect. It also has a high magnesium content which is essential for your body to make energy, and many of us don’t get enough of it in our daily diet.’
Enjoy a few squares of raw choc as an afternoon pick-me-up!
3. Flawless Skin
Spend too long in the sun?
Cassandra explains that eating flavanol-rich chocolate can help protect our skin against sun damage AND improve circulation to the skin. It can also reduce scaling and improve skin hydration. Oh HAY youthful glow!
4. Workout Wonder
The fact that raw cacao is such a good energy booster means it’s perfect for a pre-workout boost.
Cassandra reveals: ‘The magnesium it contains supports muscle function, aids electrolyte balance and may be beneficial for muscle recovery too.’
5. Makes you HAPPY!
Well, you didn’t need us to tell you that!
‘Cacao contains active substances that may have a positive effect on our mood,’ says Cassandra, adding: ‘One of these is phenylethylamine (PEA), a natural compound that’s made in our brain. PEA is associated with good mood, and is said to be released in high amounts when we’re in love!’
Ombar 72 per cent raw cacao chocolate, £1.99, Ocado