Nutritionist advises chocolate is good for you this National Chocolate Week

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A local nutritionist is providing chocolate lovers with good news during National Chocolate Week – the treat might actually be good for us after all!

October 12-18 is the week dedicated to the confectionary estimated to be worth $98.3 billion by next year and so Dr Emma Kirke took the opportunity to investigate the health benefits of chocolate, in particular, dark chocolate.

Emma’s treat of choice, dark chocolate, is packed with nutrients that could positively enhance your health. It is one of the strongest sources of antioxidants discovered and Emma points us to studies which have shown that this can improve health and reduce the risk of heart disease. But Emma warns consumers to be aware that this is only relevant to good quality chocolate. For every 100g of dark chocolate you should look out for 70-85% cacao/cocoa to ensure a good amount of soluble fibre and a number of minerals in the treat, although limit the amount you consume.

The fat profile of dark chocolate is so beneficial that those following a ketogenic diet (high fat, adequate protein and low-carbohydrate often used to treat children with epilepsy) allow it to assist with improving the macros. One study showed that cocoa and dark chocolate contains more antioxidant activity, polyphenols and flavanols than other fruits they tested, which included blueberries and Acai berries.

There are some positive studies, and some that are less favourable that have attempted to show beneficial effects in relation to lowering blood pressure and reducing heart disease.

The bioactive components in dark chocolate may also assist with protecting the skin. The flavanols could help to protect against sun-induced damage. This component may also improve blood flow to the skin and increase the density and skins ability to hydrate.

Furthermore, dark chocolate may even improve the function of the brain. There have been studies performed on volunteers over five days in which they consumed high flavanol cacao that showed improved blood flow to the brain. Cocoa may also help the elderly to improve their cognitive function and speech fluency. There may be something in the older generation insisting on that cup of cocoa before bed!

Emma comments:

“I would always choose dark chocolate or chocolate from a company that I can guarantee use good quality ingredients and that are sugar free, dairy free and soy free. My personal favourite brands are Ayni chocolate loving prepared by Pru at Creatively Paleo, The Raw Chocolate Pie company based in the South of England, and Mast Brothers who are an American company that even have some Goat and Sheep milk chocolate, their bars can be purchased in Harvey Nichols at the moment or in their shop in London.”

In short, the consumption of chocolate, or more specifically high grade raw cacao and dark chocolate, could in fact provide health boosting benefits. This isn’t a green light to go crazy on dairy milk, but in a moderate amount of a carefully selected source.

For a different use of your dark chocolate Emma’s nutrition business, Medicinal Kitchen creates a dark chocolate sorbet, easy to make and a rich sweet treat.

For dark chocolate and other recipes from Medicinal Kitchen visit https://medicinalkitchen.wordpress.com.

A local nutritionist is providing chocolate lovers with good news during National Chocolate Week – the treat might actually be good for us after all!

October 12-18 is the week dedicated to the confectionary estimated to be worth $98.3 billion by next year and so Dr Emma Kirke took the opportunity to investigate the health benefits of chocolate, in particular, dark chocolate.

Emma’s treat of choice, dark chocolate, is packed with nutrients that could positively enhance your health. It is one of the strongest sources of antioxidants discovered and Emma points us to studies which have shown that this can improve health and reduce the risk of heart disease. But Emma warns consumers to be aware that this is only relevant to good quality chocolate. For every 100g of dark chocolate you should look out for 70-85% cacao/cocoa to ensure a good amount of soluble fibre and a number of minerals in the treat, although limit the amount you consume.

The fat profile of dark chocolate is so beneficial that those following a ketogenic diet (high fat, adequate protein and low-carbohydrate often used to treat children with epilepsy) allow it to assist with improving the macros. One study showed that cocoa and dark chocolate contains more antioxidant activity, polyphenols and flavanols than other fruits they tested, which included blueberries and Acai berries.

There are some positive studies, and some that are less favourable that have attempted to show beneficial effects in relation to lowering blood pressure and reducing heart disease.

The bioactive components in dark chocolate may also assist with protecting the skin. The flavanols could help to protect against sun-induced damage. This component may also improve blood flow to the skin and increase the density and skins ability to hydrate.

Furthermore, dark chocolate may even improve the function of the brain. There have been studies performed on volunteers over five days in which they consumed high flavanol cacao that showed improved blood flow to the brain. Cocoa may also help the elderly to improve their cognitive function and speech fluency. There may be something in the older generation insisting on that cup of cocoa before bed!

Emma comments:

“I would always choose dark chocolate or chocolate from a company that I can guarantee use good quality ingredients and that are sugar free, dairy free and soy free. My personal favourite brands are Ayni chocolate loving prepared by Pru at Creatively Paleo, The Raw Chocolate Pie company based in the South of England, and Mast Brothers who are an American company that even have some Goat and Sheep milk chocolate, their bars can be purchased in Harvey Nichols at the moment or in their shop in London.”

In short, the consumption of chocolate, or more specifically high grade raw cacao and dark chocolate, could in fact provide health boosting benefits. This isn’t a green light to go crazy on dairy milk, but in a moderate amount of a carefully selected source.

For a different use of your dark chocolate Emma’s nutrition business, Medicinal Kitchen creates a dark chocolate sorbet, easy to make and a rich sweet treat.

For dark chocolate and other recipes from Medicinal Kitchen visit https://medicinalkitchen.wordpress.com.