Benefits of Dark Chocolate

When I started trying to eat healthier, one of the first things that disappeared from my diet was any and all chocolate candy bars (my first year of college I ate a Snickers bar every afternoon to give you an example of my depravity). But, due to my love of chocolate, I had to figure out a way to eat a healthier chocolate, so I did research and ended up deciding that I could eat a plain dark chocolate bar. This has been my go to ever since.

I've tried many of the dark chocolates found in the natural/organic section of grocery stores and confectioners, but Central Market's 71% chocolate bar has been a favorite for a while as a first step towards healthy dark chocolate (although it does contain soy as an emulsifier). Green & Black is a close second. One of my vendor colleagues at the Bryan farmer's market makes the BEST dark chocolate bar with only cacao powder, cocoa butter and honey. It is delicious! And super healthy. Truly!

What are the benefits of dark chocolate?

  1. It is thought to contain the highest concentration of antioxidants of any other food, which can benefit healthy gut bacteria and overall digestion.
  2. Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and blood clots.
  3. Improves insulin sensitivity.
  4. Reduces blood pressure.
  5. It is memory improving and can reverse age-related memory decline.

Why dark chocolate vs milk or white chocolate?

  1. The antioxidant capacity is contained in the cacao bean. Processing the cacao been through mixing, cutting and adding ingredients lowers the antioxidant capacity. Getting as close to 100% dark chocolate will contain the highest antioxidant capacity.
  2. Milk chocolate and the ingredients in it (sugar, milk solids, artificial sweeteners, etc...) can lead to the hardening of arteries, cancer, arthritis, diabetes and a weak immune system.

So when you next go shopping for chocolate, look for the highest percentage of chocolate, at least 70%. It'll be less sweet than what you've been used to, but your taste buds will soon get accustomed to it.

Eating dark chocolate while drinking red wine is also a delicious pairing! A must try too!

To help you improve your health, and since it's my birthday tomorrow, and one must have chocolate cake at birthday celebrations, I leave you with a delicious, healthy paleo chocolate cake recipe for you to try. It really is decadent!

A few notes about the recipe: 

The ganache take a long time to make, so I make it ahead of time. Also, the original recipe author stated that the cake may turn oily, dense and sink in the middle if you use Bob's Red Mill almond flour, and suggested using Honeyville's almond flour, which I have done and it's worked beautifully every time.

I used an 11" springform pan for the photo in the recipe, and had a hard time with the top not breaking up into pieces after I cut the cake in half - but it was still delicious!

Click here to print the recipe.

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