As a fat loss and whole foods expert I am asked about chocolate all of the time. When clients first step into my office they make it very clear that there are two they will not sacrifice… chocolate and wine.
Over the recent years there has been a lot of publicity and increased buzz about chocolate as a superfood with health benefits and has even been touted for weight loss . Can this be true? Partially, however there are important facts to be considered.
FACT : A Hershey or Aero bar will not help you take the weight off.
The commercial tasty and emotionally soothing chocolate that most of us gravitate towards, is loaded with sugar and milk that ultimately leads to packing on the pounds. Even the 100 calorie bars that are gone within 2 bites can increase the numbers on the scale when consumed daily.
There is a remarkable difference between the sugary, creamy milk chocolate found on shelves near the check out isle and the chocolate in it’s raw state, also referred to as cocoa.
So how then, did chocolate get this fantastic weight loss and health promoting reputation?
Let’s start with a little history lesson on the origins of cocoa. COCOA 101, The cocoa bean was more revered than gold to the Mayans and the Aztecs. They would use the cocoa beans for money and in some areas still do.
The chocolate that is good for us is the unprocessed raw organic cocoa beans. The greatest health benefits are derived from unprocessed cocoa rather than a processed version of it.
The superior health benefits of cocoa come from the antioxidants, phytochemicals, minerals and the building blocks of neurotransmitters and other “feel good” hormones. Research by Cornell University found the antioxidants in cocoa are 2x’s stronger than red wine and 2-3x’s stronger than green tea.
The polyphenols, natural organic chemicals, in cocoa have been found to promote cardiovascular, skin and brain health as well. This is mostly due to epicatechin, which is highly present in the cocoa bean. The cocoa bean gives green tea a run for its money in that department.
When you choose cocoa in it’s natural state it’s been shown to help increase your metabolism and actually burn up more calories during digestion it actually contains. This is great news and certainly something my clients like to hear when we discuss how to incorporate good quality chocolate into their nutrition plans.
In preparation for the month of the Valentine’s chocolate hearts here are some ideas that will also help you keep the weight off while keeping the heat sizzling.
- Add 1 tbsp of raw organic cocoa powder into your morning shake or mix into your yoghurt
- Sprinkle cocoa on your oatmeal or high fiber cereal
- Make a cup of hot cocoa using the raw organic cocoa powder with unsweetened almond milk and cinnamon
- Have 1 square of 70% or more organic chocolate per day
- Bake with raw organic cocoa powder instead of using the processed and sweetened version