I am very excited to be bringing you a special guest post today from Brenda Janschek of Brenda Janschek Health & Lifestyle.
And…she is the bearer of great news…dark chocolate and why it is GOOD for us…
Chocolate – My dark friend with benefits
It’s nice to know that on cold, wintery nights I have a special friend who can soothe me, warm me and nourish my soul. A friend who is delightful, cheeky and playful.
Who else can it be than my dark companion, chocolate – dark chocolate. Licence to thrill.
When you’re feeling low and run down, choccy’s there as it always is, whispering bitter-sweet nothings in your ear. If you’re especially fortunate, it will bring friends, such as red wine, for an extra hug. When you’re feeling more upbeat … well, that just describes how you feel during and after chocolate!
The mere thought of dark chocolate melting on your tongue is pleasurable enough, but did you know that it performs this feat by producing endorphins and serotonin (anti depressants)?
And did you know that moderate dark chocolate consumption has an array of interesting and important health benefits. Who’d have thought your dark friend would also be looking after your health on top of its intoxicating taste?
If you didn’t, grab another square and then allow the rich flavonoids (a type of antioxidant) to give you an internal massage you won’t forget. As your blood vessels relax, your blood flow increases, cognitive function improves and reduces the risk of stroke. Your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels fall too. Improved cardiovascular performance is a lovely side effect of dark chocolate consumption, and that’s what the research evidence shows.
On the outside, the flavonoids contained in dark chocolate help with UV absorption, as well as hydrating the skin and improving its complexion.
You’re not thinking about this, of course. You’re just sitting back, mesmerised by the velvety texture, and not a smidge concerned about the oft-quoted idea that sweets equal cavities.
And why? Because one of dark chocolate’s little worker bees, theobromine, apart from being a mild stimulant and mood enhancer, protects the teeth by hardening tooth enamel.
I mean, really, what doesn’t it do?
It has a low glycemic index that avoids spikes in sugar levels, it helps insulin resistance by assisting normal cell function, and it has a host of vitamins and minerals crucial in the battle against cardiovascular disease and diabetes, such as potassium, copper and magnesium.
The secret to this luxurious embrace is the cacao bean, which is dark chocolate in its natural form. It naturally has a 10% antioxidant concentration. Even cacao powder, which is cacao in its refined form, contains twice the antioxidants of red wine, and three times that of green tea.
The higher the percentage of cacao in your chocolate the better, and the benefits accrue more meaningfully at levels above 70% (organic is best, of course, free of toxins and carcinogens).
Find your favourite, and enjoy 2-3 squares each day for the best health results.
Or make up this delicious, healthy version of nutella using some anti-oxidant and magnesium rich cacao powder.
1 cup hazelnuts
2 tablespoons cacao powder
½ cup pure maple syrup or brown rice syrup or raw honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla powder
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1-2 tablespoons macadamia oil (you can also use instead of coconut oil)
Place nuts in a food processor and blend until smooth.
Add cacao powder, maple syrup, brown rice syrup or raw honey (or a combination), vanilla and coconut oil.
Whizz up all ingredients. It will be a little thick so add in macadamia oil as required and whizz until smooth.
Brenda Janschek is a qualified health coach, speaker, wellness blogger, and a busy mother of 2. She is an avid spokesperson for children’s health, nutrition and family wellbeing, passionately bringing scrumptious goodness & positive well being into the homes of families throughout Australia through a variety of workshops and programs.
Website – Brenda Janschek Health & Lifestyle
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Twitter – @BJanschek
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