Attention chocolate lovers - it's time to rethink this Valentine's Day staple! In the right form and amount, chocolate is a powerful super food with bountiful health benefits. Learn how to incorporate chocolate into your daily diet, so you can indulge in your favorite treat 100% guilt-free:
1. Keep it dark: Look for chocolate made with at least 70 percent cacao. Dark chocolate has been proven to lower cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone, and raise serotonin levels, which is the brain chemical in charge of mood, sleep, and appetite. Dark chocolate also increases blood flow to the brain, helping with executive functioning, including attention, problem solving, and planning.
2. Keep it clean: Aim for chocolate made from a single-origin cacao. Try to avoid varieties that are mixed with oils that can trigger inflammation, like vegetable oils, partially hydrogenated oils or trans fat, and palm kernel oil. Instead, opt for organic, dairy-free, gluten-free chocolate. To cut out cane sugar altogether, look for chocolate sweetened with coconut sugar.
3. Size matters: Although it’s unlikely that dark, pure chocolate will give you the sugar rush that typically accompanies sweetened milk chocolates, sticking to a 1-1.5oz serving size is recommended. Treat yourself by purchasing a truly decadent dark chocolate. You’ll feel much more satisfied with each bite, making it much easier to stick to smaller portion sizes.
4. Wake up to chocolate: Drink your chocolate? Genius! You can find a good organic chocolate herbal tea, or mix up a delicious smoothie with organic cacao powder. One of our favorites is to mix 2tbsp of unsweetened dark cacao powder with banana, spinach, frozen cherries, and oat or coconut milk. Chocolate before 10am in any form feels divine! Another great breakfast recipe is to whip up overnight oats with cacao powder: https://kirbiecravings.com/chocolate-overnight-oats/